Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Adventures (and misadventures) in the ArtScience Museum

Kit playing with an automatic dice roller for a board game that is placed
just after you enter the exhibit to engage the younger audience.

I love visiting museums, but the museum isn't top of my to-visit list for my two rascals on a weekend. With this, I don't mean the special programs that our Singapore museums put up for children; I am talking about the shuffle-silently-and-stare-in-deep-contemplation-with-furrowed-brows-while-perusing-museum-brochure-seriously kind of exhibits.

I always imagine my 5yo wandering bored and uninterested through the exhibits and my 23mo tearing down an installation or setting off a security alarm. But boy, was I surprised by how well our first family outing to the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands went.

It looks like they are in an illegal gambling den! This game table is a nice touch for
young children; it engaged my boys for a good 5-10 minutes.

OK, but I kind of played up the fact that we will get to see REAL treasures from a REAL sunken boat at the museum's "Shipwrecked" exhibit. That caught Kai's attention; he probably was initially thinking about pirates, treasures, canons etc. So there weren't any pirates (or their remains) to see, but the whole exhibit was set in a dark hall with dim lights, giving it a mysterious air (like how it would be shipwrecked, under water) and he was hooked. He sat through a short documentary about the ninth-century Arab dhow that sunk near Indonesia's Belitung island about five times in a row! He was so enthralled by the underwater images of the sunken ship that he made me explain everything again and again and again. And it helped that there were some kid-friendly activities to do in the exhibition hall.

As for my 23mo, he tried to dislodge a fire extinguisher hanging from the wall. Twice.

It was good fun, and I even had time to enjoy and appreciate the exhibit. I think a key reason why the outing didn't turn out to be disaster was because we were there first thing in the morning, just after the museum opened its doors. That gave Kit a fair bit of room to ramble around. Nice. So I'll just nudge "visit a museum" up a notch (or two) in my to-do list for the weekend.

("Shipwrecked: Tang Treasures and Monsoon Winds" ends October 2, 2011)

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