The MPu Tantular Museum continues the legacy of the Sedelijk Historisch Museum, which was founded by a German man named Von Vaber who later became a Surabaya citizen. Basically, the museum tells the long history of the city right from the birth of Surabaya.
The main building of the museum had already been erected by year 1933 but was only inaugurated four years later, in July of 1937. The original concept of the museum was to present the history of Surabaya as the hometown of Von Vaber. Through time, it then accumulated a cultural agency that finally took the form of a museum.
Von Vaber began by gathering data and information as writing materials for his book “Surabaya Lama” or the Old Surabaya. Later on after his book was published, he proceeded to write his second installment, the “Surabaya Baru” or the New Surabaya published in 1933.
Initially, the gathered works of Faber were showed off in a small space in Readhuis Ketabang. With the generosity of a widow named Han Tjiong Kung, the museum was then moved to Tegal Sari Street into a bigger building along Jalan Pemuda in 1937.
Unfortunately, Faber died in September of 1955. To be able to maintain the museum, the MPu Tantular Museum was placed under the management of the Public Education Foundation which was supported by the Ministry of Education and Culture. Furthermore, it was handed over to the East Java Regional Government as well on November 1, 1974. The original East Java Country Museum name was then replaced with the name MPu Tantular Museum. In addition, with the growing collection of the museum, another building was erected in order to house even more collections. Funds were taken from donations in order to sustain the construction of the new building of the museum. Not long after, aside from the original building found along Pemuda Street, another museum building was erected along Taman Mayangkar Street to house the growing collection of the museum.
Ever since the museum was inaugurated with just a single exhibit, the MPu Tantular Museum has slowly grown to have ten collections. Its collections start from a miniature model of the Prambanan Temple and the Borobudur Temple to a collection of the Pre-historic times, to Archeology, to Weapons, to Carvings, to Traditional Ceremony Instruments, to the Arts, to Transport and Communications, to Numismatics and to a collection of Ceramics.
After a few decades, the collections of the museum grew even more and there were added educational activities to cater to its visitors. With a growing demand in museum space, the facility required to have an even larger location. Finally in May 14 of 2004, the museum reopened and occupied another museum building in Sidoarjo along the Buduran Road.
The entire in-house collection of the museum aims to enhance a visitor’s knowledge of the history and culture of not only the city of Surabaya but the East Java Region as well. With the rich history and culture of Surabaya on display in its shelves and exhibits, the MPu Tantular Museum undoubtedly captures the essence of what the city is all about.