SINGAPORE: The Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) is set to get bigger and better with a S$5.5—million extension plan.
A new wing will be added to ACM’s current building at Empress Place.
The museum’s extension plan comes after it received a S$5—million donation from Hong Leong Foundation.
S$500,000 of the donation will be used to acquire artefacts related to Fujian culture.
The Fujian culture is especially meaningful to Mr Kwek Leng Beng, the governor of Hong Leong Foundation, as his father, Kwek Ho Png, founder of Hong Leong Group, was born in Fujian.
Construction for the new wing is expected to be completed in 2015.
ACM director Alan Chong said the new wing is a respectable, yet clearly different, addition to an important heritage structure.
The new galleries will take advantage of natural light and provide a different experience for the visitor.
He added that more of the museum’s collection can be revealed in an innovative and hopefully thought—provoking way.
Mr Kwek said by working with the Asian Civilisations Museum, it hopes to be able to inform and educate future generations about the roots of Singapore’s forefathers.
Dr Chong said:"We are very keen to show how China relates to the rest of the world, through trade, through immigration, through exchange. This is really what we are trying to work on. Fujian especially, was the homeland of so many immigrants to Southeast Asia, not just to Singapore but also in countries which are now Malaysia and Indonesia."
According to Dr Chong, the extension will not follow the colonial architectural style of the existing building.
Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong broke ground for the new wing on Thursday, together with the museum’s staff and patrons.
The new wing be a modern structure of glass and titanium.
Facing the Victoria Theatre, the three—storey structure will look like a solid box floating between two existing museum wings.
"The Asian Civilisations Museum is a wonderful old building and we shouldn’t try to create something that would be an imitation of nineteenth—century history," said Dr Chong.
"The preservation monuments board also instructed us that they prefer to have something that was new, rather than something that imitated the old and I thought one of the best ways of preserving the old facade was to construct something that was quite light, it has got a lot of glass, daylight so that you can always see the old building behind the new. It floats in front of the original building and that was our intention."
ACM, which first began operations at Armenian Street in 2005, is dedicated to exploring the rich artistic heritage of Asia, especially in Singapore’s ancestral cultures.
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