Thursday, May 17, 2007

International Museum Day 2007 (IMD'07)

The National Heritage Board is launching International Museum Day 2007 (IMD'07) tomorrow, on 18 May 2007. IMD'07 promises more than 80 activities and events spread over 24 museums over 10 days; such as:

Curatour by Low Sze Wee
18 May, 7.30 - 8.30pm

In the Trail of the Ghawazee
18 May, 8pm

6.5 million: Growing Singapore, Planning Ahead

“Down Memory Lane” – A Postcard Trail
19 & 26 May, 2pm; 20 & 27 May, 9.30am

And many more.

Unlike other commercial events, most of the activities are FREE or at very low cost. The idea is to make heritage and culture more accessible to everybody, especially the heartlanders and the masses.

There will be lots of fun things to see and do at IMD'07. You can hop on free museum bus tours, wiggle to exotic middle eastern dances, form a group to participate in the Heritage C-Race, dine with your favourite toys plus of course the ever popular MIA Night Tour. Those who are into art collecting and trading can find out all about the art markets in Singapore and Southeast Asia. There is something for foodies too, with the Eastern Surprise Food Trail which combines culture with cuisine!

Do drop by the official IMD'07 here.


Laokokok said...

Think it's high time to bring my wife and kids to the museum. I must admit I've not been there for a long long time.

BTW, where to park the car ah??? Any idea?

aiyah nonya said...

Hi !

Entrance to the museums should be free. It is not cheap as a family outing. Especially for the lower incomes. They will think twice, thrice before going in to a museum.

With free entrance it will draw more locals and tourists to the museums. This will not give an image that the museums are only for interlectuals or well to do.

In Washington DC, the Smithsonian National Museums consisits of a group of museums and a zoo. Entrance to all of them are free. You only need to pay for the IMAX, Einstein Planetarium, etc...
It draws crowds, locals and tourist.

In London the National Museum Gallery at Trafalgar Sq and the British Museum, entrance is free. Again you only need to pay for cerain exhibits or events.

The museums here are too quite. When I went to the Asian Civilisation Museum recently, I heard a tourist said that it feels like they were in a tomb.

Maybe they should review the entrance fees to attract more locals and tourist.
Anyone can just pop in to the museum during lunch time or just to get away from the heat.
This way they can promote art to the public and not an exclusive venue.

Have a nice weekend.

Lam Chun See said...

LKK. I usually park at the open car part next to former Nat. Library. Entrance of Armenian St next to Bible House.

My firend Victor has written about his visit to Namos during CNY here. Maybe he can advise.

zen said...

Museums are like a mirror reflecting a country's history, its people, cultural heritage, visual education and many other positive values. Therefore they should be made accessable and affordable to all, both locals and foreign visitors, just like a public park. Maybe a nominal fee could be charged making people aware that nothing is for free, whether the money spent comes out from one's pocket, or being subsidised by the govt. In this respect, I fully support Aiyah Nonya's view-point.

budak said...


Which exhibits or museums do you feel are not 'cheap', especially for families? I would like entry to all these places to be free as well, but suspect I would have to pay in other ways instead....

Why do you feel the museums here are only for 'intellectuals'? Is it the content or presentation (or lack thereof) of the exhibits? I could recommend the "Under The Crescent Moon" exhibit at the National Museum, which is free of charge (and with friendly guided tours at certain times) and shows in loving detail the lives and homes of common people across the Middle East. I hope this suggestion won't be too high brow for you :)

I like my museums to be relatively quiet. Maybe you don't. Is there a problem here?

Have a nice day!

mrs budak said...

I'd be willing to pay entry charges if I know that the exhibits will be good. I like to visit Museums whenever I go overseas, and entry fees are quite common. Deutsche Museum and Gutenberg Museum, for example, charge entry fees around EUR8 - 10, but the exhibits make the fees extremely worthwhile and I would pay the fees again should I return.

I'm guessing that, here, since the exhibits are regarded as "local", we aren't that willing to pay to see "local stuff".

To be frank, I've not been that willing to pay to enter our museums as well. That's because I do not know the quality of our exhibits. Except for special exhibitions like the Leonardo da Vinci or the Vatican ones, I usually wait for the Open House when I can visit the museums for free.

As for noise, I'd rather be able to view the exhibits in quiet contemplation. I've been among horrendous crowds and noise (in the Taiwan Palace Museum) and it was terrible, you couldn't even concentrate to appreciate the exhibits. Then again, maybe our exhibits here are so boring that we need some background noise? :P

Lam Chun See said...

I think another important consideration for Sporeans is time. Last year I visited the Grassroots Heritage Centre in South Buona Vista. It was a very small and cosy museum with exhibits that I could relate to: the community centres of old. Admission was free. But even for such a small place, to read all the explanations and listen to all the audio-visual presentations took some time.

The other place I enjoyed with 2 of my friends was the Chinatown Heritage Centre.

Frankly, I think the 'revenue' is far too little to offset the costs anyway. Might as well make it FOC or half-price for senior citizens and retirees who have the time who have the time.

Victor said...

LKK - Yes, I think that the car park described by Chun See is the nearest public car park to the National Museum.

I also like to have free stuff. (Who doesn't?) If you read my post (linked by Chun See above), you will notice that I visited the National Museum on the 3rd day of last Chinese New Year when it was opened free to the public. There was a long queue to the Singapore History Gallery which contained the most interesting exhibits. Therefore, I feel that there is an interest in our museums and heritage. Maybe the admission price needs a bit of adjustment (downwards). Compare the current S$10 charge for entry into the National Museum to the $1.50 it used to cost in the 1970-80s and you realise that there is a big jump in the cost. Multiply this figure by 4 (average Singapore family size) and you will see that it is "not cheap", especially for the one person who is paying.

Perhaps it is a good idea to charge half-price admission on certain days of the year like IMD 07. Even the Istana is open to the public on major public holidays. It used to be free too but they are now charging citizens $2 each (higher for non-citizens, but I can't remember how much). I understand that the gate collections are donated to charity.

aiyah nonya said...


Interlectual - This is what the taxi driver told me. He has never been in to one before.
It can be that he is not well educated. He said everything inside there you need to read and he don't have the time to waste inside there. Pay just to see old things. Told him that not everything in there are old. So, I guess he has no interest in art, history or other cultures.

So if the Museums are free, public can drop in at any time of the day, take their time to see certain exhibits. Come back another day and another day to see something else. In a way promoting art to the public.

As for now, you need nearly the whole day or the most half a day to really go over all the exhibits.
Would you(just a figure of speech- do not refer to anyone) pay to go in again to see the same exhibits ? Those who has a real interest in it, yes. But for the rest, I don't think so.


I have been to the exhibit "Under the Crescent Moon" It was good.
Not too high brow for me :)
Too quiet, it was because I went on a week day. Frankly speaking , I don't like crowds in the museums too. But if there is only one or two persons on the floor, that is quiet. Or maybe I just don't like to be alone. :)

Have a nice weekend.

peter said...

It's soemthing I have been observing for some time and it varies with age.

The teenaged and (single) young adult years, a Starbucks could cost you $5-8/cup; yet nobody says it's a ripped-off. Try asking this group to visit a museum and they tell you there are better things to do - like hanging out in Starbucks.

The family man with primary school going children do not have deep pockets (that's the majority) to pay for a family outing when you have museum entrance fee of $10/pax. So where do they go (or rather where does Mummy wants to go)? WIndow shopping or the supermarket.

Ethnically, the people also do things differently. The Malays take 3 generations with them on an outing and it's to feel/see Nature (foc) or to the supermarket.

So if the authorities don't even know who they are dealing with (the market segments) how on earth do you think we can breathe life into our museums. How long do you think those bus-tour campaigns can be sustainable for 1 year (if commercial profits are the objective to balance the books) or over the next 10 years to produce a generation of people who love the arts and culture? Are the authorities setting very expectations for themselves? If Dineyland HK has fallen into the red and the government cnanot bail the business out but Tokyo Disneyland can. The mindset of a Japanese is so different from a PRC. What about Singaporeans?

Like the taxi-driver, someone said, "Want to see old things again and must pay?". OR in my case, one of my relatives asked me "What so good about collecting this and that?" Can sell those things to make money? Now if you engage the same person in real estate and en-bloc sales, he seems pretty well-informed and passionate. His brains seem centered on those things.

Laokokok said...

Thanks Chun See and Victor. Finally found the parking besides Bible House after missing the first time. BTW, the walk from that parking lot to the Museum isn't that 'welcoming' - no proper footpath.

When I reached there, seems like the public can park inside the museum too, is it? Not sure leh.

Only visit that Crescent Moon exhibits, as I read wrong and thought that it's Free for All day on last Sat. But must pay $10, so didn't go to the permanent exhibit part - for a family of 4 not cheap you know.

Peter, you are damn right!