August 13, 2009

inSingapore: National Museum of Singapore

Posted in Travel and Culture tagged , , , at 2:51 pm by myrlinn

I heard from my friend, Gregory, recently, and he reminded me that I hadn’t blogged in a long time! Haven’t been spending much time in front of the computer, that’s why. But, he sure called at the right time, because recently I visited a couple of places I definitely want to comment on. First off, the National Museum of Singapore (I’ll talk about the Science Centre in my next post).

The museum didn’t impress me as much as I thought it would, which may have something to do with the fact that I was irritated by the “technology” they use to guide you through the Singapore History Gallery. Want a description of objects in the gallery? You HAVE to use a handheld “Companion” (audio cum text device). First, you key in the number you see next to the object, then wait for the description to come up on its screen.  Want a desription of the next object? Repeat the process. Until they come up with better technology,  they’d  be better off just going low-tech and using labels.

What I thought really worked in the Gallery – the authentic voices of historical figures, and people’s memories of the past. I found the clips of Lee Kuan Yew’s speeches in the 1960s to be compelling.

And what sorta worked: the concept of an Event Path and a Personal Path. The presentation underlined the idea of history occurring on two levels – on the more macro level of nation-building and development, and on the level of the experience of ordinary people. However, the design which divided the exhibits into many little rooms made the paths a bit of a warren to navigate.

The Living Galleries were okay, I guess. Like I implied earlier, I was not in the best of moods after having to punch a million buttons  at the History Gallery (okay, an exaggeration, but it sure felt like it!), so I wasn’t paying too much attention. I quite enjoyed the Movie gallery with its display of memorabilia. And the Photography gallery had lots of charming portraits. I particularly liked this one, which was almost ‘candid’:

Living Gallery - Photography

My favourite display was in the Food gallery —  the wall of bottles created to showcase local foods and spices was beautiful and definitely effective ( it would have been better, of course, if all the scent stations there worked).Living Gallery - Food

The worst display: a woman’s pantsuit with the most horrid printed pattern; I didn’t read the description closely — I was that repelled by it — but I think it was supposed to represent woman’s fashion from the 1960s. Shudder! Surely they could have found something better.

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2 Comments »

  1. Greg said,

    Hi Yen! Good to see you back in action. You’ve been away too long! Looking forward to more entries. 🙂

    • myrlinn said,

      Greg, thanks for giving me that little push.


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