Being Closer to an Uncen Museum of Papua – A unique Dafonsoro Sepick statue. War equipment, music, transportation, accessories, and religion are well-organized. Carvings, bark paintings, pottery, war equipment, beads, boats, culture, timor cloth, and other historical objects are stored in the Cultural Workshop Museum, Cenderawasih University (Uncen) Jayapura.

The museum’s collection is 2,500 pieces. But in the storefront only 900 pieces are visible. The storefront collections come from 270 tribes in the Land of Papua.

The Uncen Museum stands strong. Being adjacent to the Uncen auditorium. The auditorium is higher. More splendid. More spacious. While the museum is lower. The yard is wide. Usually it is used as a place for art performances or a free pulpit for activists. But the museum has some flowers in front of it. When you come here, the flowers dance happily. I sat for a while on a few steps. Watching the flowers in the morning breeze.

Referring to the initial history of the museum, only the Asmat carvings were stored. Around 1961 the American researcher, Michael Rockefeller, was reported missing. The boat capsized because it was carried away by the current in the Betsj River, Asmat Regency. In 1974, the Governor of New York, Nelson Rockefeller, initiated the construction of a museum in memory of his missing son. Asmat carvings are also preserved. Six years later, 1981, the museum was handed over to Uncen under the Uncen Anthropology Institute, after the government issued Government Regulation No. 5 of 1980 concerning the Organizational Principles of State Universities/Institutes, and merged it into the Uncen Research Center.

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Talking about the Uncen museum also cannot be separated from the Papuan culturalist, the late Arnold C. Ap, who was killed by elite Indonesian soldiers in 1984. He is the curator of the Uncen Museum and is keen to document Papuan culture through songs in the regional language of each tribe. His group Mambesak, which became famous in the 1980s, produces songs that are now the spirit of young people on Earth of Cenderawasih.

A Papuan anthropologist, Enos H. Rumansara, in his article entitled “The Role of Art Studios in Supporting Educational Guidance Activities at the Exhibition of Cultural Objects Collections in Museums in Papua” Volume 1. No. 3 August 2000, published (pdf.) expects that every district in the Land of Papua should establish a museum, to preserve the culture of the tribes in the area, which is a heritage of natural history and culture.

Several things need attention in order to preserve Papuan culture, he wrote, namely, establishing institutions that are responsible for preserving the culture of the Papuan region, in particular, those related to cultural objects—the identity of the ethnic groups that inhabit the Land of Papua. Art groups or studios can perform the cultures of the Earth of Cenderawasih in the museum. They also need to be mentored in order to develop Papuan arts.

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According to Rumansara, the formation of art groups can also create jobs for artists and support tourism in Papua, because local arts are regional assets that need to be developed for the future of Papua.

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