Written by root. Posted in FEATURES


Published on April 27, 2016 with No Comments

A revamped museum makes for a great excuse to discover Singapore’s past.


Of the many award-winning museums in Singapore, the National Museum of Singapore holds a special place in the hearts of the locals. With a history dating back to its inception in 1887, the National Museum of Singapore is the nation’s oldest museum with a progressive mind. Its galleries adopt cutting-edge and multi-perspective ways of presenting history and culture to redefine conventional museum experience.

A cultural and architectural landmark in Singapore, the Museum hosts innovative festivals and events all year round – the dynamic Night Festival, visually arresting art installations, as well as amazing performances and film screenings – in addition to presenting thought-provoking exhibitions involving critically important collections of artefacts.

Last year, in celebration of Singapore’s Jubilee, the Museum re-opened its permanent galleries after a three-year redevelopment. All the National Museum’s permanent galleries have been carefully designed to incorporate elements of the themes and time periods, which they explore or are set in. The choice of colours, textures and specific design elements contribute to create immersive experiences for visitors. The designs for the display of artefacts also took into account the backstories and context so the audience can better appreciate their significance.

For example, the Modern Colony gallery is designed to resemble a pre-war colonial bungalow with the scent of afternoon tea in the verandah to welcome visitors. There is also the contextual set-up of an HDB kitchen of the 1970s and 1980s, to show how the space and appliances on display reflect the modern conveniences and lifestyles desired by Singapore families. The galleries contain 12 interactive stations, including scent stations. There are over 60 multimedia stations located throughout the galleries that provide more information, stories, personal accounts and archival footages of significant historical events and important artefacts. These stations include a specially commissioned zoetrope for the Growing Up Gallery, among others. For the first time, the museum has also commissioned and located an art installation within the Singapore History Gallery as part of the gallery’s narrative.

The Ambient Scents and Scent Stations in particular is worth to note. Swiss perfumer and fragrance maker Givaudan has sponsored a series of ambient scents and scent stations for the museum’s galleries. Ambient scents add a sensory dimension to the visitor experience in galleries. They greet visitors as they step into certain sections of the galleries, such as the “After Rain” scent in the Transforming the Landscape section in the Singapore History Gallery, and the “Afternoon Tea” scent that greets visitors to the Life in Singapore: Modern Colony Gallery. Some of the galleries also feature scent stations, such as the various floral scents in the Goh Seng Choo Gallery. The two scents in the Singapore History Gallery’s Transforming the Landscape section – Tembusu flowers and the polluted Singapore River – were conceptualised to convey the different milestones of Singapore’s environmental story. As part of the collaboration, Givaudan has also launched “City”, a new fragrance created especially for Singapore’s 50th year of independence. “City” is sold at the National Museum’s Museum Label shop and proceeds will be donated to the museum.

With a refreshed layout and updated narrative, visitors can look forward to a more engaging and immersive experience; a bit like stepping back in time to the different periods of Singapore’s history.


Royal Brunei Airlines flies Singapore 2x daily.

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