Quiz first - when is International Museum Day (IMD)? You may not get the answer after 365 attempts because there is no definite date. In fact, the International Council of Museums recommends celebratory activities around 18 May for members. Since 2006, IMD has been celebrated at NHB's museums during the last two weeks of May. This year, IMD fell on 23-31 May.
31 May was Open House Day (read: free entry) for participating museums. A sucker for free heritage stuff, I strategized/schemed to squeeze the most out of the lobang. Let's do the sums. Here's the list of NHB participating museums and the normal adult admission charges:
8Q Sam - $3
Asian Civilization Museum - $8
Memories at Old Ford Factory - $3
National Museum of Singapore - $10
Reflections at Bukit Chandu - $2
Singapore Art Museum - $8
Singapore Philatelic Museum - $5
The Peranakan Museum - $6
The $10 choice was out because this sucker has visited the National Museum on another occassion (read: another open house). ACM was picked because
My plan ready, its execution awaits on 31 May.
Finally the big day arrived. I alighted at City Hall MRT Station and grabbed my breakfast at Ya Kun Raffles Place. Luckily I stuffed myself 4 slices of bread because as it turned out, I skipped lunch later. The morning stroll to ACM along St. Andrew's Road was leisurely. The museum opens 9am on Sunday and I was there at 9:30.
The museum received her morning group of visitors but there was no crowd. You'd be hard-pressed to find a single soul at the entrance fronting the Singapore River.
By 11:30, I had chiong most of the galleries including the Kangxi Emperor exhibition. Here's the situation at the foyer and outside just before noon.
I hid inside the neighboring air-conditioned Art House before returning for a documentary screening at 1pm. The documentary was OK
The crowd now had morphed into a long snake attacking the Special Exhibitions Gallery ....
The snake could climb stairs ....
and filled the area outside the entrance ....
even outside the museum ....
and into the tentage meant for Ancient Chinese Sports.
The queue was targeted at the exhibition; access to the other galleries remained uncontrolled. The museum repeated this announcement over the PA system. Some people might queue in vain when they could have given the exhibition a miss and chiong other galleries. Others might be intimidated by the queue and gave up on visiting ACM.