Thursday, May 22, 2008
National Museum of Singapore
Yesterday Nadine had a school outing to the National Museum of Singapore, which has just started its first ever Children's Season (1 May to 6 July). She sure had a lot of fun running around. Which meant me chasing after her constantly, trying to keep her out of mischief! But exhausting as it was, the trip was very interesting - so here are some highlights. If you have young kids/siblings, you might want to check out the museum and Children's Season programmes for the June holidays.
There is this huge metallic wall exhibit, with lots of colourful everyday items which are magnetised, so you can move them about and form your own "art". It's in the area facing the Concourse, just outside the Museum Shop. The kids loved this.
The trip is the end-of-semester outing for many kids with disabilities from both morning and afternoon sessions at Rainbow Centre (Margaret Drive). The museum had kindly waived admission fees for the children. Here's Nadine (right) dancing around with her classmate.
Nadine had a ball making friends with children from other classes that she had not met before, but she was also over-enthusiastic in greeting some of them! I nearly dropped my camera when I saw her doing this to the other girl!
The Murmurs Playground at the basement is designed for toddlers up to 4 years old. It encourages speech via play, using senses of touch, hearing and sight. There's a Musical Chef section with kitchen utensils strung up for kids to make noise with, tunnels for kids to explore, squeaky large circular cushions and the perennial favourite, the ballpool. Admission is free to this area.
The award-winning Mozart interactive exhibit has 11 themed areas for children to compare life in 18th century Vienna versus their own. It's very hands-on. The kids got to try on period costumes and wigs, play with toys of the era, sit in a mock opera house, and even loll about on a huge canopy bed. But alas, no musical instruments to fiddle around with? Maybe I missed those. But yes, Mozart symphonies were playing in the background.
Nadine at the makeup counter getting her beauty spot, and later a paper wig, which proves to be too big for her. The Mozart exhibit is actually designed for kids aged 6-12 (those under 6 can enter free but must be accompanied by adult holding a ticket). Nadine who is not even two yet doesn't fully understand what it's all about but it was still a rich sensory and playful experience for her.
We didn't get to see the whole museum, only selected parts. From the Living Gallery, we visited three sections - Food, Fashion and Film, all of which are quite small. The Food section focuses on local street food and their origins, as well as herbs, spices and tools used in this region in the past.
The Fashion section talks about shopping for an identity. Glass showcases of women's dresses lead to an area with actual fabrics (see above) the children can touch and explore. Hmm, strangely only women's clothing is shown, did men not need to make fashion statements?
The Film and Wayang section features local cinema and its development - from Malay black and white movie stars to Chinese opera and puppets. It also has a small theatre showing snippets of classics (fans of pontianak movies, take note!).
I have never been to the old National Museum before its massive renovation but the new place is certainly more sophisticated than I expected. We wouldn't mind coming back with the kids to check out the rest of the Children's Season (see website for details). Plus I've been wanting to try out Novus, the cafe at the museum. That's a food blog post for another day.
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