Be beguiled - and involved - at revamped museum galleries

Never-before-seen artefacts and a revamped gallery of drawings are among the sights the public can expect when the National Museum of Singapore (NMS) reopens its permanent galleries next month.

The galleries, which were closed for almost a year for a revamp, will welcome visitors again on Sept 19.

Also reopening is the Goh Seng Choo Gallery, which will display a rotating series of works from the William Farquhar Collection of Natural History Drawings. The collection comprises 477 watercolours by Farquhar, who was Singapore's first Resident from 1819 to 1823. The gallery's inaugural exhibition, Desire and Danger, will feature drawings of flora or fauna that possess aphrodisiacal or poisonous properties.

The drawings will be juxtaposed with actual specimens - sometimes even scents - of their subjects, such as the rabbitfish and the breadflower, to explore the relationship between man and nature.

The permanent galleries, which are divided into the Singapore History Gallery and Life in Singapore: The Past 100 Years, chronicle the country's development and also take a closer look at life during crucial periods in the nation's history.

They will include artefacts which have never been displayed before, such as a washbasin and sewing machine used during World War II.

The Singapore History Gallery also promises a more multi-sensory experience with the use of audio- visual multimedia and an interactive map, where visitors can submit their own stories.

NMS director Angelita Teo said: "At the heart of the revamp is a greater focus on creating personal and emotional connections with our visitors. We hope that by making the museum experience accessible and relevant, more visitors will be motivated to discover more about Singapore's history and heritage on their own after having visited us."

Admission to the galleries is free.

Visitors to the galleries' opening weekend will get a chance to dress up in vintage costumes for photographs and enjoy free kacang putih.

This article was first published on August 18, 2015.
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