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Museum Musings: Museum Roundtable kicks off 25th Anniversary Celebrations

Starting this September, the Museum Roundtable (MR) will be commemorating its milestone anniversary with a celebration of programmes, 25 years since its formation by the National Heritage Board (NHB) to encourage a museum-going culture amongst Singaporeans.

The MR was first established in 1996 as part of NHB’s ongoing efforts to develop a vibrant and diverse museum landscape in Singapore, and to position museums as unique cultural destinations. Since then, it has grown to comprise more than 60 public and private museums and heritage galleries members, spanning diverse categories of focus and interest: Art, Culture & Community, Defence, Healthcare, Lifestyles & Collectibles, National History and Science & Innovation

To kick off the celebrations, the MR is rolling out a series of Mystery Museum Tours which will take place each weekend from 4 to 26 September 2021, and will take the public on a journey of exploration through selected museums in Singapore, including lesser-known ones. The celebrations will culminate in a Museum Roundtable 25th Anniversary Traveling Exhibition in November with educational and fun-filled activities that can be enjoyed by families and children as it travels to various public spaces across Singapore.

Mystery Museum Tour. Photo Credit: NHB

Ms Chang Hwee Nee, Chief Executive of NHB and Chairperson of the Museum Roundtable, shared: “The MR has grown immensely to welcome many new members over the past 25 years, reaching its highest membership of 62 museums this year. We enjoy a close working relationship with all of them, and together, we have been able to organise countless exciting programmes to enliven Singapore’s museum-going culture over the decades. With the September school holidays approaching, we wanted to let Singaporeans rediscover our vibrant museum and heritage landscape by putting a new spin on the museum-going experience and injecting an element of surprise with our Mystery Museum Tours.”

From 4th to 26th September 2021, go on the Mystery Museum Tours, organised in collaboration with 10 MR members, based around three themes of “Fashion Confessions”, “Mythical Creatures” and “Hidden Secrets”, with a total of 34 tour runs. Each theme will feature a unique itinerary and offer different insights into the collections and workings of the participating MR members. Members of the public can sign up for the themes which interest them, and the exact museum(s) will only be revealed to participants on the day of the visit.

On the Fashion Confessions tour, get inspiration for your next runway as you explore fashion artefacts on display in some of Singapore’s museums, and learn about the history of fashion and its cultural significance in Asia. Participants will learn about the stories, significance and craftsmanship behind fashion artefacts, such as garments, headpieces, jewellery and other accessories, and explore the ways in which these artefacts empower identities and strengthen community ties.

On the Mythical Creatures tour, prepare for a magical adventure as this tour brings you on a search for fantastic creatures hidden within Singapore’s museums. Participants will learn about the practices and beliefs behind the deities and protective guardians in South and Southeast Asian myths, and the significance of these mythical characters in their respective cultures and communities.

Finally, in the Hidden Secrets tour, get ready for exclusive behind-the-scenes access, and a more intimate look into the inner workings and hidden spaces of some of Singapore’s museums. Participants will have the opportunity to interact with exhibit repair specialists, paper conservators, museum guides and gemologists to discover the secrets of their trades. The guided tours will also allow participants to learn from the experts about how artefacts are conserved, handled and displayed, and even get a chance to have some hands-on experience!

Mystery Museum Tour. Photo Credit: NHB

To complete the celebration, NHB will be collaborating with more than 20 MR members to co-present a travelling exhibition that showcases milestone achievements of the MR and individual artefact highlights from participating MR members. The travelling exhibition will launch in November, and travel across various venues until December 2021.

Apart from viewing the unique collections of various museums, visitors can also stand a chance to win museum gifts and vouchers for use at the participating MR museums. The travelling exhibition is intended to promote greater public awareness of the diversity of museums in Singapore, and encourage more people to visit the museums and galleries. More details on the exhibition will be shared later in the year.

Registration for the Mystery Museum Tours is available from Peatix on a first-come-first-served basis. More information on the tours is also available here. As a precaution during this Preparatory Stage of Transition to Endemic COVID-19, each tour will be limited to a maximum of 10 participants. Participants will also be required to observe the necessary safe management measures throughout the tours. Details on the applicable safe management measures will be sent to participants upon registration.

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