KUALA LUMPUR- There is no doubt that Bukit Bintang, with its overabundance of shopping malls, exciting street food as well as upmarket restaurants is a hub for locals and tourists wishing to spend a day out in the city.
If you’re in the vicinity and looking for a different kind of ‘excitement’, the Museum of Illusions might just do the trick.
Located on the first floor of Ansa Hotel, this museum showcases illusion-based exhibits as well as individual rooms that challenge and excite your sense of sight, logic and perception.
All the exhibits are based on science, mathematics, psychology and art and afford you the chance to learn about vision and how your brain works. Needless to say, this is a rather fun and interactive way of learning.
FMT visited the museum recently and was pleasantly surprised.
You’ll be bombarded with optical illusion exhibits from the get go, giving you an indication of what’s in store as you venture further in.
The lines and dimensions in the Ames Room, for instance, distorts your perception of depth. Stand in one corner with your arms out and you’ll appear like a giant compared to the person on the other end who’ll seem miniscule in size now.
Named after Adalbert Ames Jr, an American ophthalmologist that first constructed the room in 1946, the illusion is so convincing that a person walking from left to right will appear to grow and shrink.
Don’t forget the Rotated Room, where the surroundings depict gravity-defying images that make it seem like you’re hanging onto the ceiling for dear life!
There’s also multiple puzzles and fun exercises placed around the museum that will stimulate your cognitive abilities and test your thinking skills.
It can also be a fun bonding (or competitive?) exercise with friends and family to see who finishes a puzzle first.
On the upper level, a drawing of P Ramlee at the landing might just creep you out. If you look closely, it’ll seem like his eyes are following you wherever you go. Explained scientifically, the perception of the hollow eyes is interpreted as normal convex eyes in your brain.
The highlight at the museum is the Vortex Tunnel. Despite standing still on the walkway, you’ll feel like you’re moving forward thanks to the surroundings that spin around you, tricking your brain into thinking you are moving too.
What’s more, mirrors on either end create the illusion that the walkway goes on infinitely in either direction. Certainly not for the faint of heart!
Speaking to FMT, museum manager Rene Augustine, said: “Me and the staff here had to learn how to solve the puzzles ourselves when we first came in, so it’s definitely interesting to see our visitors trying to work around them.” He said that many a time, the staff would offer visitors a “nudge” when needed.
Choong Chiew Fei, a Pahang-based teacher who came to check out the museum with her nieces, told FMT it was refreshing to see something different exhibited in a museum, and that the venue would be good for school outings or family trips.
Her sentiment was shared by Marcus K, a tourist from Denmark visiting Asia on a months-long trip. “I came across this museum on TikTok. After seeing it for myself, I think it’s a very cool place to hang out and have fun,” he said.