Photo: Just eat.

The Camera Museum

Our rating:

On the wall by the Muntri Street main entrance for The Camera Museum you will find printed: “Short cut to Chulia Street”. A cunning ploy, for who could possibly edge around the huge replica of a vintage camera straddling the entrance or cross the industrial-style gallery space hung with international or local photographer’s works; or sail past the striking mural of crouching photographers, the rainbow rays from their cameras beaming up like searchlights to an intriguing spiral staircase that leads to nowhere and not find themselves at the ticket desk instead?

Extending over the entire length of the first floor, the museum is concisely contained within five rooms that concertina back like compartments in a vintage camera. Heavy curtains hanging from each door make you feel every inch the Victorian photographer as you dip your head to enter.

Mural beside the intriguing staircase to nowhere

Join the paparazzi and take a closer look at the Camera Museum.

The first is where the clicking, snapping, popping core of the museum lies. With hundreds of models on display, it is a veritable ode to the camera. A primary colour Lego digital marks a journey that starts in 1990 and travels back in time to the earliest camera of 1800, passing irresistibly through, to name but a few, Nikons, 1950s Yashicas, Rolleiflex, Kodak Brownies, an art deco Agfa and a supreme golden snakeskin Leica perched upon its indecently pink velvet case.

The cameras are interspersed with concise explanations of the main technological developments, as well as vintage advertisements and fun photos (Audrey Hepburn with her vintage Polaroid; early “selfies”). Kids and big kids alike will love the Bugs Bunny, Barbie and Action Man designs in the centre of the room, as well as the chance to handle and dismantle a collection of vintage cameras. If you don’t know your aperture from your elbow a knowing but unobtrusive guide will happily answer any questions.

The eye-catching main entrance

The eye-catching main entrance.

Within the dark walls of the Camera Obscura and Pinpoint rooms the basic principles that led to the invention of photography are effectively demonstrated, while a recreated Dark Room makes the work of the pre-digital photographer with his sink, trays, tubs of developing fluid, washing line and pegs appear almost comically domestic.

Fun and fact collide in the Unique Collections room where an imposing Japanese Machine Gun camera from WWII and a display of spy cameras, the Minox no bigger than a cigar, compete with a life size 007 silhouette to pose alongside.

The spy room

Indulge your inner 007 in The Spy Room.

The wall opposite has a timeline of important dates and a succinct collection of iconic photos to linger on, before the Exit staircase leads rather temptingly down to the Double Exposure Cafe. With pasta bakes and cakes aplenty, the photography theme permeates with juices served up in camera lens cups and even film roll loo holders in the toilets.

The adjacent gift shop offers a cornucopia of camera and photography inspired souvenirs.

If you are starting to turn a darker shade of sepia you can head back out to Muntri Street and enjoy a coffee or snack at Moon Tree 47 or for the more feline friendly, the Purrfect Cat Cafe, which flank the museum.

Or why not just take that famous short cut to the bustle of Chulia Street and enjoy chicken rice at the busy local spot on the corner while congratulating yourself on not missing a well-framed, pin sharp detour through the history of the camera.

The Camera Museum
49 Lebuh Muntri, Georgetown
Daily 9:30-18:30
T: (04) 261 3649
Admission: Adult 20 ringgit; students and seniors 10 ringgit; free for children under 12.

By .

Location map for The Camera Museum

What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Penang.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Penang.
 Check out our listings of other things to do in and around Penang.
 Read up on how to get to Penang.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Penang? Please read this.
 Browse tours in Malaysia with Tourradar.

Like what you see? Then you’ll love our newsletter

The Travelfish newsletter is sent out every Monday and is jammed full of free advice for travel in Southeast Asia. You can see past issues here.

See below for more sights and activities in Penang that are listed on

Top of page