Lion City embraces local heritage as an important part of life

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 August, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 09 August, 2008, 12:00am

Museum officials are ensuring that facilities in Singapore become stylish cultural lifestyle destinations focused on sharing the country's unique art, heritage and culture with citizens and visitors of all ages.

State-of-the-art technology, including computer graphics, touch-screen displays, artistic lighting and design, mood music and even original scents, complement the evocative displays of art and artefacts. There are also many interactive elements for the public - children included - to get a physical feel of the art and heritage on display.

According to the National Heritage Board (NHB), which runs the city state's nine museums and heritage institutions, more Singaporeans are embracing heritage as an important part of their lives.

'Annual outreach programmes, such as the Singapore HeritageFest, Explore Singapore and International Museum Day, have matured into iconic national events attracting loyal followers in the hundreds of thousands with an attractive array of art and heritage related activities,' an NHB spokesman said.

Landmarks, such as the Empress Place Building and the old Supreme Court, are among the 55 national monuments gazetted because of their historical significance. Heritage walking trails in various neighbourhoods and districts, including the Civic District in the Bras Basah area, are also considered vital as they tell visitors of the history and life of the area and its early settlers.

Heritage markers have recently been erected dedicated to historical figures linked to Singapore.

In April, the NHB added another jewel to its collection. The Peranakan Museum houses the world's finest and most comprehensive collection of more than 1,200 Peranakan artefacts including porcelain, silver, jewellery and, of course, its signature embroidery and bead-wear.

Speaking at the museum's opening, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said: 'The Peranakan Museum is part of our broader plans to grow and nurture a more vibrant arts and cultural scene. Over the years, we have established our city as a key node in the global economic network. We enjoy high international standing because of our world-class infrastructure, skilled workforce, and reputation for reliability and efficiency.

'But to stand out as a truly distinctive global city, Singapore cannot be just an economic marketplace. We must also create a living environment that is the best in Asia - a city rich in culture that exudes our own brand of diversity and vibrancy.'

In May, the NHB launched its first country-themed festival on Vietnam. There were 34 separate exhibitions and interactive activities across 14 museums, art galleries, and food and beverage outlets. The festival also commemorated the 35th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Singapore and Vietnam.

This month, a China Modern China Contemporary festival will showcase the breathtaking developments of art and heritage in China. More festivals promoting the Philippines and Laos are also being planned for next year.