Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Singapore National Museum

Chandeliers that swing in synchonised movement at certain times of the day

The restaurant Novus within the premise
Natural light flooding the interior
My favourite spiral staircase
Was at the Singapore National Museum and I must admit I haven't been there since the early 90's. Of course there were those school excursions way back and all I remember then were natural history drawings of early Singapore, old Raffles treaties and maps and my favourite spiral stairs. When young school girls congregate and weren't very interested in historical exhibits, they created stories. We each had our version about that spiral staircase and how haunted it was. My favourite was that of the curator and his room of body parts, preserved in lab jars of formalin. Of course that was absolute rubbish but we love the indulgence and how they created a diversion.
The spiral staircase is still there, untouched by the renovations at the museum but given a beautiful new coat of paint. It used to be a lot more antique looking with a chain and lock prohibiting anyone from ascending it ( because curiosity kills the cat ). That was wonderful as it created the ambience needed for our stories. Today, there is still a chain across it but I must say this modern chain doesn't have much of a character. It needs to be rusty and creaky.
And now, back from my silly little diversion of the spiral staircase. The National Museum of Singapore has been renovated a number of times since it was opened in 1887 by the Govenor of Singapore during the jubilee year of her majesty Queen Victoria. It is now twice the size of what it used to be, a very modern museum with two main galleries, history and living. The history gallery tells the story of how it all began for Singapore while the life gallery is divided into Film & Wayang, Photography, Fashion, and Food. You can tell the importance of food to Singaporeans by how it takes on a well deserved section of its own.
The Singapore National Museum has all the trimmings of a world class museum with state of the art audio and visual enhancements but what I like best was how the museum building has been renovated to bring in more natural light, highlighting the beautiful interior architecture and its original classical features.

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