Jun 3, 2009

How I Beat the Crowd (Again) on International Museum Day

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 I can't appreciate art this would be my first visit and I could enjoy the Kangxi Emperor exhibition free.

Free Entry

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.

Side View

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.

Main Entrance

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 and I enjoyed my short nap near the end of the 45 minutes programme.

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.


I laughed all the way to the bank beamed with pride about being the early bird again. It is regrettable that IMD may be the last Open House before the Kangxi Emperor exhibition ends its run on 28 June 09.

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.


Victor said...

With so many people going only on free days, no wonder museums are not making money. (This comment is not directed at anyone in particular.)

Icemoon said...

I wonder what's the breakdown in tourist-local ratio for our museums.

It is like Windows is still making money from sales of notebook/desktop despite rampant piracy.

Lam Chun See said...

I thot as a foyer, you shd have the year-long free pass? I went to Memories at Ford recently on a weekday just after lunch. Besides me,there was only 1 other person. Later a few bus loads of students came along and I made a quick exit.

That reminds me, I better use my free pass before it expires.

oceanskies79 said...

The early person gets to see the exhibition with less crowd! Cheers to you!

The Kangxi Emperor exhibition was worth going for, if not for the crowd...

I was at the Asian Civilisation Museum on 30 May 2009 Open House but when I saw the queue by the early afternoon, I would rather visit the museum on another day when it is not Open House. Furthermore, I found out that there was no guided tour to the exhibition during the Open House days.

If you do visit the museum again, please go for the guided tour, it gives a good overview especially for a lay-person in Manchu history like myself.

Icemoon said...

Chun See, I never asked for it. Figure I procrastinate (the I-can-have-free-entry-anytime) and before long, one year would be gone.

But after my recce, I discovered there are too many things to be seen in the museum! Maybe I get the pass. Our national museum, 4 weekends also not enough :P

Icemoon said...

PY, 30 May also open house for ACM?!

I think there was guided tour on that day. Maybe the guides volunteered to work on Open House, since they are volunteers. Haha.

The only guide in the Kangxi gallery was this mandarin speaking guy leading what seems like a tour group. Maybe he tour guide ah.