SINGAPORE: The Singapore government will invest S$62 million over the next five years to enhance content in the country’s national museums, to better tell the Singapore story that will resonate with citizens.
Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong announced this on Friday during the debate in Parliament on his ministry’s budget estimates.
Mr Wong said the money will go into building up the museums’ collections, and conserving them with new techniques.
He said: "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."
To encourage museum visits, the minister also announced free entry to all national museums and heritage institutions for Singaporeans and permanent residents from 18th May.
Mr Wong said: "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 18 May also happens to be International Museum Day!"
The free entry will apply to the following museums and heritage institutions:
National Museums —
Singapore Art Museum
National Museum of Singapore
Asian Civilisations Museum
The Peranakan Museum
Singapore Philatelic Museum
National Art Gallery (slated to open in 2015)
Heritage Institutions —
Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall
Malay Heritage Centre
Indian Heritage Centre (slated to open in 2015)
Interpretative Centre —
Reflections at Bukit Chandu
The free entry though will not apply to special exhibitions with external partners to ensure the sustainability of museum operations.
Mr Wong said there is scope to improve on museum access for Singaporeans.
To give Singaporeans a greater sense of ownership over their heritage, both the ministry and National Heritage Board (NHB) will develop more community—based galleries and trails in neighbourhoods across the island.
This year, the NHB will launch three more heritage trails in Toa Payoh, Tampines and Tiong Bahru.
So far, the board has developed 10 of such trails.
They include historical sites of national importance in the Civic District, along the Singapore River, and sites of community memories in neighbourhoods like Balestier, Queenstown and Yishun—Sembawang.
The longer—term plan is to develop an island—wide network of community museums, galleries and heritage trails.
Mr Wong said: "In developing all of these plans, our approach is to partner the community to celebrate our heritage together. We want to encourage more ground—up heritage initiatives. We will engage students, volunteers, and heritage interest groups, and facilitate self—initiated heritage efforts.
"NHB will also extend its existing partnerships to a wider pool of heritage enthusiasts, including bloggers and people in our educational institutions and non—profit organisations such as the Singapore Heritage Society and the Organisation for Senior Volunteers, RSVP. It will also nurture heritage champions, equip them with the necessary training to become lifelong advocates, and provide them with assistance to develop projects."
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.
He said this will allow the arts community to expand its programming capabilities, and over time, enable the festival to develop a stronger identity of its own.
To encourage cultural philanthropy, the government will set aside S$200 million in a Cultural Donation Matching Fund.
This money will go into matching private sector donations to arts and heritage groups, museums and institutions.
"We can only have a thriving arts and heritage sector if our people have a personal stake in Singapore’s culture, and feel the desire to contribute to its growth and development," said Mr Wong.
Mr Wong said his ministry will consult donors and potential beneficiaries to see how best to design the matching scheme.
Details will be firmed up later this year.
MORE SINGAPORE NEWS
Latest Photo Galleries on xinmsn
A friend of Tamerlan Tsarnaev implicates himself and the Boston bombing suspect in an unsolved triple homicide before FBI agents kill him in... More A friend of Tamerlan Tsarnaev implicates himself and the Boston bombing suspect in an unsolved triple homicide before FBI agents kill him in a violent altercation, local media report.
Date 3 hrs ago, Duration 0:49, Views 42