Updated: 03/16/2013 00:22

Free entry to museums for Singaporeans, PRs from May 18th as government boost heritage funding

Free entry to museums for Singaporeans, PRs from May 18th as government boost heritage funding

by Imelda Saad

The Singapore Government will invest $62 million, over the next 5 years to enhance content for the country's national museums, to better tell the Singapore story, that will resonate with citizens.

And to encourage more visits, Singaporeans and PRs can look forward to free year-long entry, to all national museums and heritage institutions, from May 18th.

Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Lawrence Wong announced this today during debate on his ministry's budget estimates.

It's all about nurturing the Singapore soul.

And at the heart of this is rooting Singaporeans to their heritage and culture, says Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Lawrence Wong:

"We are a young nation. As several members have highlighted, the fast pace of development and the rapid changes in our society make it difficult to develop strong cultural anchors for our national identity. So it is easy to feel disoriented, especially with the increase in population and new immigrants in recent years. All this means that we must do more now to step up our cultural development."

So 62 million dollars will go into building up collections and conservation techniques for Singapore's national museums.

And to encourage museum visits, there'll finally be free entry for Singaporeans and Permanent Residents.

Mr Wong elaborates:

"We will start from the 18th of May with the launch of this year's Childrens' Season at the museums. I think it's a fitting day to start free entry because 18th May also happens to be International Museum Day!"

The free entry though will not apply to special exhibitions with external partners...this is to ensure the sustainability of museum operations.

And to give Singaporeans a greater sense of ownership over their heritage, there'll be more heritage trails across the island.

Three new heritage trails will be launched this year in Toa Payoh, Tampines and Tiong Bahru.

So far, the National Heritage Board has developed 10 of such trails. They usually have historical importance or have unique community memories.

The longer-term plan is to develop an island-wide network of community museums, galleries and heritage trails.

At the national level, the government will set up a new company to take over the running of the Arts Festival which will return next year.

Mr Wong said the company will be given the autonomy to determine the Festival's artistic direction.

The ministry will also consult stakeholders on how best to design the $200 million Cultural Donation Matching Fund, aimed at encouraging cultural philanthropy.

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