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.



  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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