Penang Heritage Center
Penang Heritage Center is now known as World Heritage Office in line with UNESCO's requirement that each of its designated historic city has a center for the public to get information. It also functions as a resource center and also a place where officials gather their resources to carry out any activities on heritage issues.
It is strategically placed at the corner of Carnarvon Street, Armenian Street and Acheen Street, at the start of the Heritage Trail. However, before a large sign was posted outside the building, a lot of people passed it by without noticing it.
There used to be only a discrete board outside, with the logo marking its place.
PHC was established in 1996, with its first headquarters at Syed Al-Atas Mansion.
It is placed under Penang State Economic Planning Unit (UPEN - Unit Perancangan Ekonomi Negeri).
Now, PHC is housed in another two-storey heritage building which was also restored.
The purpose of the organization is mainly to create awareness among the people of Penang, especially, to appreciate their own heritage. It includes tangible assets like the heritage buildings and intangible heritage like art, culture, performing arts and old business practices which are dying.
Using the fanlight as its logo, the design is almost similar to the logo of Badan Warisan Negara (National Heritage Body). The designer of this logo is Dr. A. Ghafar Ahmad from the School of Housing, Building and Planning at Universiti Sains Malaysia.
PHC also encourages owners of heritage buildings to restore and maintain their properties. It provides the know-how and professional advise for those who wish to do their own restoration projects. Badan Warisan Negara is also involved by providing their expertise in this area.
Due to rapid development in George Town, coupled with unchecked urban decay, and a few political factors, the establishment of Penang Heritage Center is a timely effort to help save the icons of history and landmarks on the island.
The center frequently organizes short workshops for interested parties. Some of them includes the techniques to make lime plaster, stucco and sculpture, restoration techniques for old buildings and also antique furniture. Another interesting course is a special workshop for trishaw operators.
Penang Heritage Center also organizes periodic exhibitions, together with promotion of local arts and crafts. The theme always revolves around Penang Heritage.
Because of its strategic location, PHC also serves as a tour guide office, giving tips to the visitors of the Heritage Enclave how to go about enjoying their self-guided tours on the heritage trail.
There is an interesting scale model on display depicting the Heritage Trail. The model is always useful for visitors to get an idea of their bearing when they walk through the trail.
There is also an archive accessible to the public who want to do more research on related topics. A visit to Penang Heritage Center is certainly profitable to students and organizations who are interested to know more about their subjects.
PHC is nothing without the presence of two members of the staff who work there.
Puan Rozaini Hassan is the Center Manager and Encik Osman Said is her assistant. Both of them have extensive knowledge and experience on various topics. They are always helpful to cater to your queries. The center is open daily on weekdays, during office hours. You may contact Pusat Warisan Pulau Pinang (Penang Heritage Center) at +604-2616606. Now it is called World Heritage Office, the telephone number, members of the staff and the location remain the same.
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