National Museum Singapore – both classic and contemporary
The National Museum may be Singapore’s oldest museum (with a progressive mind, as they promote themselves), but that certainly does not mean it is stuffy or boring. Quite the contrary!
The building in which the museum is housed is beautiful and an interesting mix of classic and contemporary architecture.
Many interesting permanent exhibitions
The majority of the exhibitions are permanent and they are all done very tastefully.
My personal favourites are Modern Colony and Story of the Forest.
Also interesting to me are the Singapore History Gallery, Surviving Syonan and We built a nation.
Let’s see what they’re all about.
Singapore History Gallery
About the history of Singapore. From Singapura to Crown Colony to Singapore of today.
Singapore has made such enormous leaps, during the last century, that it is almost beyond comprehension.
Have a look at these kampung stilt-houses from around 1850 or 1900 and then look at the picture below that, of colonial Singapore around the same time. What a contrast! There must have been a period of time in which these two worlds co-existed. How can you wrap your head around that?
About Singapore in the 1920’s and 1930’s. As a British Crown Colony.
This section is set up -as if- in a typical Black and White Mansion. It tells us about the way people dressed, how they lived, the position of women, colonials versus servants and maids and more.
Another example of ‘old world’ and ‘new world’ co-existing. A traditional rickshaw versus a modern car, on top of that driven by a woman. In this case by Singapore’s first female doctor. It must have been fascinating times with mind-boggling developments and changes.
The Farquhar Collection – Desire and Danger
A small exhibition of botanical sketches dating back to the times of Sir Raffles.
About Singapore when it was occupied by the Japanese. Man, were they cruel! And do you know that they instantly ordered that all Singaporeans from then on only spoke Japanese?!
About life in Singapore during the 50’s and 60’s. Aesthetically very well done, but probably a lot more fun for the locals, since it will bring back lots of memories for them.
We built a nation
Singapore is a very young nation and the vision and creation of one man in particular: the late Mr. Lee.
This exhibition tells us about the ideas behind it. E.g. about the city as a Green City. And about HDB housing in which most people own their houses.
Look how life went from living surrounded by items as in the picture below to a modern kitchen in the picture below that one.
Story of the Forest
TeamLab made a digital interpretation of the botanical sketches from a century ago.
You walk down in a spiralling way, surrounded by Malaysian nature from the 20th century. Animals appear and walk around, we hear sounds, it starts raining…
Difficult to describe, BUT…. I made some video-snippets that give you a better idea.
At the end you wind up in a dark room with a few bean bags on the floor. In this room, the projections envelop you. The idea is to lie down and look up and around you.
And again I made a small video. The experience is very relaxing; kinda Zen.
Wings of a Rich Manoeuvre
The swaying of eight kinetic chandeliers, lighting up here and there.
Until march 25th 2018 you can catch Witness to War – Remembering 1942.
I passed on this one. Visiting Surviving Syonan was doable for me, but I do not want to be confronted too much with wars and such. Maybe you’re different?
Festivals and art installations
National Museum Singapore participates in the yearly Night Festival and other festivals and art installations.
The facade of the National Museum this year during the Night Festival; it was awesome!
Selfie I made in the mirror tiles on the concrete mixer from the beginning of this post.
Well, that’s all, folks.
Have you visited the National Museum Singapore? Which part is your favourite and why?