Crab expert named chief of new natural history museum

Crab expert named chief of new natural history museum
The new Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum
Professor Peter Ng of the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, standing infront of the new Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum on 29 April 2014. A crab expert, he is one of the key figures behind the setting museum and has been appointed as its head for two years.

SINGAPORE - Singapore's first standalone natural history museum now officially has a chief, who will lead the museum under a new academic unit of the National University of Singapore (NUS).

Crab expert Peter Ng, one of the key figures behind the setting up of the new Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, has been appointed as its head for two years.

Professor Ng, who was for 16 years director of the natural history museum's predecessor, the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, will take charge of about 40 staff members.

"We used to be a very successful mamak shop. We were small, 'family run', and we helped each other out. We're now evolving into something like an NTUC or Sheng Siong (supermarket). And that requires a different way of doing things," said Prof Ng, 54.

Meant to open late this year, it is now slated to open in the first quarter of 2015 to coincide with the university's 110th anniversary and Singapore's 50th birthday.

In 2010, Prof Ng and his mentor Leo Tan launched a bid to turn the Raffles Museum - which has one of the largest collections of South-east Asian animals in the region - into the first standalone natural history museum here.

By January last year, they raised $60 million to build a seven-storey building on the NUS campus, and bought three near-complete dinosaur fossils from the United States.

NUS president Tan Chorh Chuan said Prof Ng was "uniquely suited" to be the museum's chief.

"He is a world leader in his field of research, an excellent and inspiring teacher, and a passionate proponent for conservation, biodiversity and science education," said Professor Tan.

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