Children’s Season 2017: Our Favourite Places at National Museum

How are your June holidays coming along?

It’s Children’s Season at the museums, and we went to check it out at National Museum last weekend.

Interestingly titled ‘Our Favorite Places’, the interactive children’s exhibition was adapted from  The Little Singapore Book by local authors Sim Ee Waun and Joyceline See Tully, with illustrations by Diane Ng Rose. It brings us back to what Singapore was like 50 years ago. Young explorers discover popular family hangouts in the 1970s and 1980s, as well as cultural sites and historical landmarks along the Singapore River. Parents and grandparents can take a lighthearted walkdown memory lane and relive wonderful memories of yesteryear!

My boys were very captivated The Soft Dome you won’t miss it because it is right at the entrance of the museum. The set-up was impressive and rather unexpected for a museum, I thought. We were invited to lie on the soft netting to admire the beauty of the National Museum’s iconic stained dome. My boys couldn’t contain their excitement and were clambering all over the netting, despite the minders’ repeated instructions to lie still (which is an impossible feat with my boys). Not the most children-friendly installation, I have to say!

Our next stop was Our Favourite Places Bumboat Trail at The Concourse, Level 1. Even though the significance of the installations was not immediately obvious to my boys, they certainly brought me down memory lane because they were the Singapore landmarks of my youth. Gasp, am I that old now?

The boys took a bumboat at Clifford Pier to ‘cross’ the Singapore River, crossed the Cavenagh Bridge, tried their hand at an old-school balance and sorted mail at General Post Office Building (now Fullerton Hotel). They even put up a puppet show at the Old Parliament Building!

Look who was at the basement? It’s The Giant (by Jean Jullien, France). Shh, don’t wake him! The boys had fun doodling on the tall sleeping blue giant and… err, shouting in his ear to wake him up!

Then there’s Our Favourite Places – Trolley Bus and Trishaw Trails on the Glass Atrium on Level 2.

I thought the concrete wall of glass bottles containing scents of all sorts was very cool! We got a whiff of a couple – Jo wasn’t too enthusiastic and ran away after he smelled one (I think it was ginger, haha)!

Quite a lot of fun interactive stops here. You could reach into earthen jars for old-school memoribilia like wooden clogs and Chinese drums, feel the textures of embroidered cloth used to make saris, hide in a tent on East Coast, take a whiff of spices and pose for a pic in a teacup ride or at the dragon playground.

There were two colouring stations too – too bad my boys had no patience to design their own Peranakan tiles or houses.

It was obvious a lot of thought had gone into the activities to truly make them fun for children!

We also managed to catch a few short animated films in the Young Cinema which is screened at 10-12pm and 2-4pm over the weekends in June. Snacks were provided too!

It was hardly crowded when we were there on a Sunday morning. Overall, I personally found the exhibits a bit underwhelming this year but I think you would appreciate them if you like low-key exhibits or with young children. Worth spending a few hours there!

Whilst we were there, we also checked out Story of the Forest, an immersive installation based on William Farquhar Collection of Natural History Drawings exploring the intriguing relationship between man and nature. The boys had fun running down the spiral walkway and pointing out the many animals on the screen.

Children’s Season runs at National Museum from now till 30 Jul 2017. There are also storytelling sessions and workshops – you can check out the details here.