SINGAPORE (9 April 2010) – Singaporeans can view treasures housed at our national museums in specially created three-dimensional (3D) virtual galleries, tour past exhibitions, be enchanted by 14th Century Singapore, and surf the web during their visit to the museums. With a slew of online initiatives announced today, NHB hopes to engage the younger net-savvy generation, increase awareness of heritage and inculcate a greater museum-going culture amongst the public.
2 To reach a wider audience locally and internationally as well as to lengthen the display period of its shows, NHB plans to digitise and archive past exhibitions at the museums. Kicking off the initiative is the virtual tour for last year’s well-received Land of the Morning: The Philippines and its People exhibition at the Asian Civilisations Museum. NHB is also currently working on digitising Thrice Upon A Time: A Century of Story in the Art of the Philippines exhibition held at the Singapore Art Museum which will be launched very soon. These virtual archives will allow the public to view these past exhibitions in the comfort of their homes from computer screens anywhere. They will also be able to learn about each individual artefact at the click of a mouse.
3 Launched in 2007, NHB’s Singapore Collections Online (SGCool), an online repository of artefacts and artworks from the board’s collection, will see a six-fold increase of items by the end of April 2010. A total of 38,000 artefacts and artworks will be available online for public viewing. The public can view artefacts, artworks and iconic pieces from the national collection and even items which are currently not on display at the museums.
Museums are now Wi-Fi enabled
4 Beginning April 2010, all NHB museums are also Wi-Fi ready and visitors can enjoy surfing the Internet for free at our museums. Schools visiting the museums are also able to conduct their lessons and research online.
5 Developed to promote the use of interactive digital media in the heritage sector, Cybermuseum is positioned as a software tool which allows the public to experience virtual museum spaces. This industry-driven project is developed by Visual Factory Pte Ltd and supported by National Heritage Board and the Interactive Digital Media R&D Programme Office (IDMPO) which is hosted by Media Development Authority (MDA). Cybemuseum makes use of Visual Factory’s proprietary 3D immersive engine, MagicStitch™, and is supported by digital media content such as animation, movies, audio and video clips, and other 3D data objects. This affords users, the likes of curators, museum designers and even students, an immersive experience of navigating through museums and browsing 3D digital artworks and artefacts on display.
6 Working with the NHB, Visual Factory has created virtual galleries showcasing iconic artefacts from six museums, Asian Civilisations Museum, Memories at Old Ford Factory, National Museum of Singapore, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore Philatelic Museum and Reflections at Bukit Chandu. Other institutions and organisations such as the Cape of Good Hope Art Gallery, Grassroots Heritage Centre, Nanyang Technological University Art & Heritage Museum and National Community Leadership Institute, as well as other government agencies have also ‘gone virtual’.
Museums R Us competition
7 Organised to promote Cybermuseum as an e-learning tool is the Museums R Us competition. Introduced in October 2009 to drive greater interest among the young in Singapore’s museums and heritage, Museums R Us saw 22 teams of students from tertiary institutions creating thematic virtual galleries populated with 2D or 3D images. Besides learning to use the Cybermuseum tools, participants were also trained in curatorial practices by a NHB curator. The top four projects – ECO3, 19th & 20th Century Shophouses in Singapore, Uncovering Antiquity and Travelling through Time – are available for viewing through the Cybermuseum platform.
Preview of World of Temasek
8 In the pipeline, Magma Studios, with support from NHB and IDMPO hosted by MDA is producing a virtual world/role playing experience re-creating 14th Century Singapore entitled World of Temasek. This project will bring alive Singapore’s historically significant places such as Fort Canning, Singapore River and the Raffles landing site. This first-of-its-kind heritage virtual world will appeal to gamers and the internet savvy generation by taking features from the most popular online game worlds and implementing them in a non-fiction educational context. It will also allow teachers to plan and set customised ‘quests’ related to the curriculum for their students.
9 Working with industry partners such as Visual Factory and Magma Studios who have the domain expertise, have enabled NHB to leverage on new technology to bring museums and heritage alive. These partnerships will spur the growth of our heritage eco-system and provide dynamic platforms to harness the creativity of the young and strengthen their affinity to Singapore’s museums and heritage.
10 “NHB has constantly been at the forefront of new media and it is encouraging to note that the Board has leveraged these channels to its advantage. I commend the Board for involving the private and education sectors, as well as other government agencies and institutions in developing and promoting the use of platforms such as Cybermuseum and “World of Temasek”. The growth of this eco-system has allowed us to move forward together to create innovative services and rich experiences,” says Mr Lui Tuck Yew, Acting Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts.
Please refer to the annexes attached for more information.
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About the National Heritage Board
The National Heritage Board (NHB) champions the development and promotion of a vibrant cultural and heritage sector in Singapore. It makes heritage enriching, relevant and accessible to all through staging innovative programmes and forging collaborative partnerships. NHB leverages on technology and refreshing new approaches to make heritage more dynamic, alive and exciting for different audiences. It also manages both national and public museums, the National Archives of Singapore, Heritage Conservation Centre and Preservation of Monuments Board.