Aceh Tsunami Museum

Aceh Tsunami Museum, Dark History of Natural Disasters – The Aceh tsunami at the end of 2004 had a major impact on many aspects of the life of the Indonesian people, especially the western coast of Sumatra, including Aceh. The humanitarian tragedy also made many people around the world aware of the importance of building community preparedness against the threat of disaster. Especially for the West coast of Sumatra – from Aceh to Lampung, the biggest threat that must be faced by the community is the Earthquake and Tsunami from the Indian Ocean. This encourages initiatives from various parties to provide public education preparedness facilities for Tsunami, one of which is now realized with the establishment of the Aceh Tsunami Museum.

Aceh Tsunami Museum
Aceh Tsunami Museum

The museum was built at the initiative of a number of institutions, including the Provincial Government of NAD, the Banda Aceh City Government, the Aceh-Nias Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources and the Indonesian Architects Association. According to one of the initiators, this building not only serves as a means of education for the general public but also serves as a vehicle to commemorate the fall of 120,000 lives in the incident. Founded with funds worth Rp. 70 billion, this building also functions as a tsunami evacuation center in the future. Although it has been inaugurated since February 2008, the new museum was opened to the public on May 8, 2011.

The architecture of the museum building was designed by architect and ITB lecturer, M. Ridwan Kamil. The design with the theme ‘Rumoh Aceh as Escape Hill’ was chosen in the contest, after defeating 68 designs that met the criteria set by the committee. The design of this building adapts the concept of building houses on stilts which are characteristic of traditional Acehnese houses. For this reason, the most basic floor is made as an open space that can function as a public space while providing a safe distance from the threat of a coming tsunami wave.

The outer wall motif of the building is an image adaptation of the Saman dance which is a symbol of the strength, discipline and religious belief of the Acehnese people. There is a vertical tunnel rising in the middle of the building like a chimney. Around the walls in this passage are the names of the victims during the Tsunami and at the peak there is the silhouette of ‘Allah’ in Arabic letters. When entering the building, we will pass down a corridor with waterfalls on both sides, which gives rise to the feel of panic that emerged when the Tsunami occurred.

The Tsunami Museum is divided into several segments. The first segment on the ground floor serves as a vehicle to commemorate the 2004 Tsunami disaster, a visual documentation display room and a ‘chimney’ containing the names of the victims. Through a spiral staircase and a transverse bridge, we enter the second segment located on the 2nd floor, which is a tsunami education vehicle in the form of tsunami history documentation, dioramas, various science props related to tsunami events and library space. The third segment is an open space on the roof of the building that serves as a vehicle for evacuation of the community when the Tsunami occurs again.

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