Located on Farquhar Street near Fort Cornwallis, the colonial-era building Penang State Museum was formerly the Penang Free School which was built in two separate stages, stage one in 1896, and when funds were adequate, stage two in 1906.
A bronze statue of Captain Francis Light, the founder of the Penang Straits Settlement greets you as you approach the compound of the Penang State Museum.
The Penang State Museum is reputed to be one of the best state museum in Malaysia, and exhibits paintings of Captain Robert Smith and the lovely engravings of William Daniell. Other collections are former Penang Hill railway carriage, a handwritten Qur`an, old Malays weapons donated by the family of the late Dato’ Haji Fathil Basheer and etc.
Divided into galleries dedicated to Penang’s historical communities, as well as particular historical events that took place in Penang, the museum houses a fine collection of old photographs, maps, historical documents, Chinese furniture, embroidery, costumes and other historical relics.