State Museum of North Sumatra

State Museum of North Sumatra

Worth worth visiting

More on Medan

The one worthwhile to see museum in Medan, the sprawling State Museum of North Sumatra delivers a rounded approach to the history and culture of the region.

Travelfish says:
Striking frontage. : Stuart McDonald.
Striking frontage. Photo: Stuart McDonald

The museum is well documented in both English and Indonesian, though the lighting is low, so some squinting is required. Ground floor exhibits range from a large stuffed tiger to anatomically correct stone statues, temple lions and an entire whale skeleton, through to a blow by blow explanation of the colonial period through to independence and beyond.

Upstairs is arguably the more interesting section, with scale models of Batak houses, examples of traditional clothing of the various ethnic groups who populate the province, tools, handicrafts and a weaving display.

There is trouble in Siantar. : Stuart McDonald.
There is trouble in Siantar. Photo: Stuart McDonald

If you’re planning on exploring North Sumatra and have a few spare hours in your day, a visit here will help to give you a grounding in what you’ll see and encounter once you break out of Medan. If you are a real museum hound, the Museum Perjuangan TNI at 8 Jl KH Zainul Arifin near Sun Plaza is worth a quick look if you are in the area.

Sticking with the State Museum, if you’re in the area, swing by Raya Al-Mashun Mosque and Istana Maimoon as they are a ten and 15 minute walk away. Recommended.

Contact details for State Museum of North Sumatra

Address: 51 Jl HM Joni, Medan
Coordinates (for GPS): 98º41'46.72" E, 3º34'5.16" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Admission: 10,000 rupiah

Reviewed by

Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.

Tours in Indonesia


These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.


Our top 3 other sights and activities in and around Medan

Raya Al-Mashun Mosque
Raya Al-Mashun Mosque

Beautiful Mosque

Tjong A Fie Mansion
Tjong A Fie Mansion

A stunning relic of the past

Istana Maimoon
Istana Maimoon

Worth a quick look