Visiting the National Museum is always a real treat for our family, and I am continually impressed with the ever-increasing focus of our local museums on coming up with ways to reach out to kids. Every time we visit the museum, there is always something new and interesting going on!
Last week, we were invited to attend a special preview of Masak Masak 2015, part of the annual Children’s Season at the National Museum of Singapore, featuring 10 new installations from local and international artists. We spent the better part of the day exploring the various interactive exhibits, following the ‘Baby Block’s Day Out’ storybook guide that is specially designed to engage the children and get them to record their thoughts and observations about each exhibit.
We were also very privileged to be able to meet two of the artists, Mademoiselle Maurice (from France) and Crystal Wagner (from the USA) whose works are part of the Masak Masak 2015 showcase.
I was particularly fascinated by Mademoiselle Maurice’s explanation of the inspiration behind her work, “Spectrum of Paper” (2015) which is currently hanging from the ceiling of the museum’s front atrium. This colourful origami suspension is inspired by the Japanese legend that promises to grant the wish of anyone who folds a thousand paper cranes, and the various colours and paper creatures represent the multicultural nature of Singaporeans all blending together to form a harmonious rainbow.
Mademoiselle Maurice also collaborated with our local TV star, Jeanette Aw, to produce another “Spectrum of Paper” origami wall installation based on Jeanette Aw’s book, “Sol’s World: Somebody to Love” (available for purchase (S$19) at the Museum shop). This installation is interactive in nature and visitors are encouraged to add their own origami creation to the wall.
Jeanette Aw also created two large wall murals, both of which are meant for children to scribble or etch on! Naturally, J and Little E took to this invitation with great gusto, scribbling and colouring to their hearts delight. You can see J in the picture above drawing butterflies to add to “Life’s Best Journey is with The One You Love” (Jeannette Aw, 2015), and below, Little E is colouring in some flowers on “Simple Pleasures in Life” (Jeanette Aw, 2015).
J and Little E were also completely mesmerised by the field of “Dancing Solar Flowers” (2004 – 2015), created by Alexandre Dang from France, and they enjoyed playing hide-and-seek in the huge crepe paper playscape, “Wanderlust” (2015) by Crystal Wagner from the USA, popping in and out of the various tunnels and holes like little meerkats.
My favourite exhibit by far has to be “Luma-City” (2015) by local industrial designers, Lim Kim and Alfred Lim. This is a playspace set up in a darkened room which has a special phosphorus coated flooring. Kids push giant toy vehicles around the floor which leave luminescent trails behind them, glowing vividly in their wake for a few moments before fading away. What I found particularly exciting was that each trail had a particular shape that is related to the type of vehicle being pushed around – for example, the train left behind train tracks, whilst the boat left behind waves of water. Very cool!
There are also special workshops and performances going on every weekend throughout the month of June (dates and details at the end of this post 1). We were very fortunate to be able to bag a space in an art therapy workshop run by The Red Pencil, a charity that uses art therapy to help children and families stricken by long term illness, disability or trauma.
During the workshop, we were encouraged to talk to each other about our playtime experiences and paint a picture together as a family whilst using positive feedback to show how we value and respect each other as individuals.
Afterwards, the kids and I headed outside to play on the inflatable bouncy playgrounds on the front lawn of the museum, but these were unfortunately closed for the afternoon (the playgrounds are only open from 10am-12pm and 4-6pm on weekends), so we contented ourselves with gelato from Momolato (10-6pm every weekend until 28th June) in a special blue vanilla flavour topped with honeyed popcorn! Delicious!
By the way, I’ve put together a little video guide on how to maximise your visit to the museum featuring some of our favourite exhibits and activities! Enjoy!
Masak Masak 2015 runs from 30 May 2015 to 10 August 2015 from 10am – 6pm at the National Museum of Singapore. Admission is free!
1. Wayang Kulit Puppetry Performance by Jeremy Hiah: 13 & 14 June, 20 & 21 June, 8 & 9 August at 2:30pm (Admission is free)
Shadow Puppetry Workshop: 13, 20, 27th June from 1030 – 1200h (Tickets are $20 for one parent-child pair and are available from SISTIC)↩