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December 18, 2019 / Jim Fenton

Japan/Singapore Day 13: Museum and Gallery

November 20, 2019

Jim was off to more meetings this morning. Kenna had talk to with her companion from yesterday about possibly visiting a museum together, but a family emergency caused Wendy and her husband to suddenly fly back home today. On her own again and with rain having started last evening, Kenna decided that going to a museum was still a good idea. She had wanted to see the Peranakan Museum, but it was closed for renovation. She chose instead to start with the National Museum of Singapore.

This museum was originally the Raffles Library and Museum and is still housed in the original building from the mid-1800’s. They have recently added on a modern new space, only slightly modifying the old building to connect the two and preserve the historic structure. Kenna got there in time to join a guided tour in English. The historical exhibits are well organized and take the visitor through Singapore’s history, from the original settlers to the present day. There were also side exhibitions including one that is multimedia and another about growing up in Singapore in the 1950’s and 1960’s. It was interesting for Kenna to compare the items in that exhibit to her experience in the United States. When she went to leave the museum, the rain was pouring down but it soon let up enough for her to quickly make it back to the shopping area for lunch before setting out again.

This time she went over to the National Gallery Singapore. This is also in an historic building, actually two that are now combined with a new roof and bridges in between. There was an interesting exhibit about these buildings, which were the former city hall and supreme court, and how they have been transformed over the years including some of the renovations they had to do to stabilize them and make them one. Kenna enjoys art museums and this one was no exception. She was especially moved by a special exhibit of watercolors by the artist Lim Cheng Hoe. He was largely self-taught and painted mostly landscapes of Singapore from the 1930s to 1970s. Overall, it was a good day of learning about the history of Singapore and getting a better understanding of its diverse peoples.

This article is part of a series about our recent travels to Japan and Singapore. To see the introductory article in the series, click here.

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