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Mona Melling

Sarawak Museum Department

Documentation and Content Development Officer

Country: Malaysia

ITP Year: 2017


Mona is a graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Zoology, currently working at the Sarawak Museum Department. For the past seven years, she has worked as a taxidermist with the Natural History section and at present, is part of the Sarawak Museum Campus Project & Heritage Trail team.

As a Zoologist, Mona has a particular interest in the field of herpetology (life history of amphibians & reptiles). Besides Zoology, she is also very much interested in Anthropology (cultural anthropology).

Her current research interests revolve around the indigenous spiritual beliefs and cosmologies of the local ethnics in Sarawak, particularly the various healing and death rituals. The intricate and elaborate rituals and its living cultural legacy in the form of sickness images, burial poles and huts are what fascinate her the most. Mona is also learning the local dialects spoken by the communities and the deeper meaning of words when uttered during rituals.

It is Mona’s role and goal to bring these mostly intangible stories in an engaging context with museum artefacts to future audience.

Her personal interests include playing the piano, reading, mountain trekking and exploring nature.

At the British Museum
During her time on the International Training Programme 2017, Mona was based in the Asia Department and her spent partner placement at Manchester Museum and Manchester Art Gallery

In 2017 participants were asked to develop a proposal for an Asahi Shimbun Display – a temporary exhibition in Room 3 at the British Museum – based around a ‘spotlight’ object.  Mona worked with fellow Tapunga Nepe (New Zealand) on her exhibition proposal project, entitled Transporting Identities: Exploring Iban and Maori Carved Vessels.

Mona’s participation on the International Training Programme was generously supported by Sarawak Museum.