Geology Museum is the biggest and the most attractive museum in Bandung. Most of the visitors are groups of students, coming in buses arranged by schools from cities all over Java. Smaller portion of the visitors are families.
The history of this Geology Museum was started in 1850 during Dutch colonization. That year the Dutch government in Indonesia established Dienst van het Mijnwezen, an organization to survey and do some researches on the geological materials in Indonesia. They need the minerals to support the industrial revolution in Europe.
When this organization had collected plenty of minerals, fossils, maps, etc. they need a place to store and analyze them. Hence, they built a Geologisch Laboratorium on Rembrandt Straat in 1928. Unfortunately, we lost many documents during Japan colonialization and post-independence war.
Back to present day, the name of Rembrandt straat was replaced with Diponegoro street and the Art Deco building of Geologisch Laboratorium has become the Geology Museum. This museum was renovated to its current look during 1999-2000, funded by JICA (Japan International Corporation Agency).
Geology museum is divided into 4 sections:
Geology of Indonesia is located in the west wing of Geology Museum. We just need to turn left from the main entrance.
The first thing we will see is the collections of meteorites. The biggest meteorite exhibited is the Jatipengilon that found in Madiun, East Java on March 19, 1884. Its weight is 156 kg. Other exhibitions in this section is about the geological forms of each of the big islands in Indonesia. We will also learn the evolution of Indonesian archipelago since 50 million years ago, based on the theory of plate tectonics.
Next is the exhibition of minerals, such as quartz and amethyst. At the far end of this section is the exhibition of volcanoes in Indonesia. There are 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia, no wonder people say we live in the Ring of Fire :) There are some more information with a maket on the popular volcanoes: Anak Krakatau, Merapi, Batur, Tangkubanparahu and Bromo-Semeru.
History of Life gallery is across the hall from Geology of Indonesia. We will found so many fossils here, from different time frame. The oldest fossil is Stromatolit from 3.5 billion years ago. This museum also has trilobit from Pre-Cambrian period, a replica of Tyrannosaurus rex (T.rex) from Mesozoic, and mammals, such as elephant (Sinomastodon, Elephas, Stegodon) from Quarternary period of Cenozoic.
Although T.rex is the most popular exhibit in this museum, I like the elephant fossil, it reminds me of the Hollywood movie: Ice Age ;-)
At the end of the hall there is a special room, exhibiting various replicas of ancient skulls, including the famous Java Man (Homo erectus) from Sangiran.
In addition, there is an exhibit of geological evolution occurred in Bandung, starting from under the sea level, then a giant active volcano named Sunda merged and erupted, the caldera became an ancient lake. When the lake dried, human lived there until now and it becomes the city of Bandung. The fossils exhibited there witnessed this evolution. One of the complete fossil is a fossil of snake python reticulatus.
Going upstairs to the second floor, we go to see the Geology for Human Life Gallery. This is a modern gallery supported with audio visual technology. The first exhibition is a short movie on how a volcano merges until it errupts. We also can see many showcases of various minerals, both metal and non-metal. For example: gold (Au), silver (Ag), platinum (Pt), copper (Cu), tin (Sn), zinc (Zn), iron (Fe), marble, iodine (I), granite, feldspar, and sulfur (S). Indonesia is the major producer of nickel (Ni), tin (Sn) and manganese (Mn).
Indonesia is also rich with many gemstones: garnet, jade (nefrit), emerald, ruby, saphir, and diamond are some of them. They are so beautiful.
Other thing we excavated from earth is the oil, gas, and coal. In addition to the information in the gallery, there are some makets showing the offshore oil platform (oil rig).
At the end of this section we are reminded that sooner or later the energy from oil, gas and coal will run out. Hence, we should use the renewed energy more. Being an archipelago with lots of active volcanoes, Indonesia is very suitable to extract energy from water and geothermal.
The last exhibition in Geology museum Bandung is located in the front yard. It is a beautiful garden decorated with some fossils of stones and wood. Children can play pretend to be paleontologists in the sandbox at the corner of the garden. They dig the sand to find replicas of fossils.
First thing to do in this geology museum: ask for a map in the information desk. We also can ask for a tour guide, but it is difficult to hear their explanation when the museum is crowded.
Presently all the information provided here is in Bahasa Indonesia. Although you can not read or speak Bahasa Indonesia, this museum is still worth an hour visit.
Why an hour visit? Because it only exhibits a small portion of its collections. Most of them are stored in the documentation room.
There is a small souvenir shop near the entrance door of the museum. We buy the ticket to the museum here. We can find some stones for jewelery as well as some geology books there, including the guide book to the geology museum.
We also can buy t-shirts printed with various things about Bandung or batik bandana at the sellers on the pedestrian walk in front of the museum. The price is absolutely more expensive than in the market such as Pasar Baru Bandung, but it's worth a try if you don't have time to shop around in Bandung.
The museum is located at Diponegoro Street. It is approximately 500 meters from Gedung Sate, the West Java government office. Often we can not see the museum clearly from the street when several buses park in front of it. There is not any parking lot inside, so we just park on the side of the street.