Singapore’s first dedicated children’s museum will serve as a ‘starter museum’ to introduce young visitors and their families to the museum-going experience.
Image credit: Children’s Museum Singapore
Get ready to unleash your inner child at Singapore’s new dedicated children’s museum! The Singapore Philatelic Museum (SPM) has been repositioned as a children’s museum under the National Heritage Board (NHB). The museum will open its doors in December 2022 as Children’s Museum Singapore (CMSG).
Start with Wonder
The museum’s new logo and tagline ‘Start with Wonder’ aims to convey the moment of joy and discovery when children visit the museum. Children have a natural sense of wonder about the world around them. As Singapore’s first dedicated children’s museum, CMSG endeavours to sustain and nurture this sense of curiosity to explore, experiment, and encourage learning through play. This is the inspiration for the ‘Wonder mark’, which forms the basis for the museum’s new logo.
The concept stems from mark making, which signifies the beginning of a child’s developmental journey towards writing and drawing. It is a sensory experience children participate in when they create lines, patterns, or shapes, for example doodling on paper with crayon, or making patterns in the sand with a stick. Children love doodling and imagine different worlds as they express themselves freely, without inhibitions. The ‘Wonder mark’ is inspired by this act of doodling, which represents endless possibilities for children, and it also acts as a metaphor for wonder, joy, adventure and growth.
Engaging stakeholders and learning from overseas
The museum has been conducting engagements with different groups of stakeholders in preparation for its opening. A survey was conducted in October 2020 with around 1,000 parents with children aged 12 years and below¹. The survey found that parents preferred an environment that provides exposure to new experiences. Parents also expressed their wishes for the museum to be educational, hands-on, affordable, experiential and creative. When asked if they would visit the museum when it opens, 96% of the respondents responded positively.
CMSG has also been holding focus group discussions with various stakeholder groups, such as early childhood educators and children, from 2019. Ongoing focus group discussions with educators seek to find out how the new museum can support learning in school, and potential areas of collaboration and partnerships. Educators wished for the new museum to complement school curriculum as an enjoyable and memorable place for children to explore, engage, and learn. They also welcomed an interactive museum that engages and empowers children, and were open to co-develop teaching resources and exploring learning opportunities at the museum as an extension of their lessons.
Focus group discussions were also conducted with children of different age groups to assess the suitability and relevance of the exhibition contents and approach.
While developing the pedagogical and curatorial strategies, the museum also drew on the experiences and knowledge of leading children’s museums overseas, such as the Tropenmuseum Junior in the Netherlands, Frida & Fred in Austria, and Zoom Children’s Museum Vienna. This inspired CMSG towards a child-centred, immersive and multi-sensory activity-based approach with themes that connect children to the community.
A ‘starter museum’ for young visitors
The findings from the stakeholder engagements and the learning points from children’s museums overseas are aligned with CMSG’s plan to serve as a ‘starter museum’ for children to cultivate a love for museums and lifelong learning. The new museum would also tap on SPM’s twenty-five years of experience as a family-friendly museum in engaging children through immersive environments, interactive programming, exciting themes and unique objects. The museum will also synergise with other children-centric learning spaces to create a vibrant suite of offerings for children in Singapore.
Ms Tresnawati Prihadi, Director and General Manager, Children’s Museum Singapore, said, “Children will have a deeper and richer learning experience, when they can get to see and touch real objects, listen to the stories of real people and immerse themselves in an incredibly stimulating environment. At the Children’s Museum Singapore, we want to provide hands-on opportunities for children to learn about heritage and culture through play. Through exploratory, multi-sensory exhibitions, we hope that the museum can be a conducive environment for informal learning and can also serve as testbed to spearhead engagement strategies and educational approaches for younger children.”
¹ The survey was conducted in October 2020 via email and Facebook with 1,043 parents with children aged 12 years and below. The objective of the survey was to find out from potential target visitors about what they would like to see at the new children’s museum, their purpose of visiting, exhibition themes that they would be interested in, and how likely they would visit.
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