Stories behind Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

The Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum at the National University of Singapore opens on April 28.

It has been a long and rocky road for the museum, which can trace its roots back to 1823, when Sir Stamford Raffles founded the Singapore Institution.

The Raffles Natural History Collection now has a permanent home in the spanking new $46 million building designed by Singapore architect Mok Wei Wei.

The three dinosaurs sit easily in their new home. But it took a team of almost 30 museum experts, movers and staff two weeks of 12-hour days to assemble the family. Read the details here.

Before the museum opens on April 28, The Straits Times' art department offers a peek into the past with this graphic guide to the dinosaurs. 


The museum is accessible only via timed tickets from Sistic and selfie sticks will be banned. Museum head Peter Ng explains why here

The museum was officially opened by President Tony Tan Keng Yam on April 18. Read about the opening here.

Also take a peek into the museum in our picture special here.

It will open to the public on April 28. Tickets are available from Sistic.

We look back at the stories behind the museum.


Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum: 7 things to watch out for beyond the dinos

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This story was first published in The Straits Times on April 28, 2015

Writer Audrey Tan picks seven must-see items in the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum.

Read more here.

Make a date with dinos

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This story was first published in The Straits Times on April 12, 2015

The dinosaur fossils are in place, more than 2,000 specimens have been prepped. Before the doors open on Saturday, Chang Ai-Lien takes a look inside the museum and at the book which commemorates its opening.

Read more here.  Museums remind us dinosaurs still fly

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This story was first published in The Straits Times on Dec 24, 2014

Professor Peter Ng, head of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, contributed this piece to the paper's Opinion pages about the importance, and role, of museums in the modern world.

Read his piece here.

Dinosaur trio reunited with arrival of Prince in Singapore

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This story was first published in The Straits Times on Oct 11, 2013

Prince is the biggest of three sauropod dinosaurs which will be the star attractions at the new Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum. He arrived from Utah in the United States, packed into 27 giant customised crates.

Read more about his arrival here.

Museum homecoming for President Tan

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This story was first published in The Straits Times on March 26, 2013

President Tony Tan Keng Yam visited the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research in Kent Ridge before its collection was packed up for the big move to its new home.

President Tan took an hour-long tour of the collection.

Read more here.

Animal specimens prepped for move

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This story was first published in The Straits Times on March 18, 2013

More than a year before its new home is ready, the 500,000 specimens at the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research were already being prepared for the big move.

Find out more about the big move here.

Valuable butterfly collection for museum

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This story was first published in The Straits Times on Jan 14, 2013

The Fleming collection, which represents about 95 per cent of butterflies in West Malaysia and Singapore, was bought and donated to the museum.

Malaysian tycoon Tan Teong Hean bought the collection from Mr Fleming's widow for an undisclosed sum.

Read more about the donation here.

2nd of 3 dinosaurs for museum arrives

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This story was first published in The Straits Times on Aug 29, 2012

Apollo, or Apollonia, is 24m long. Packed into 14 crates, she arrived after a month-long voyage.

Read more here.

A sneak peek at some items in the collection

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This story was first published in The Straits Times on Aug 17, 2013

Straits Times artist Tay Chern Hui got to photograph some of the more than 500,000 South-east Asian animal and plant specimens in the Raffles Museum Of Biodiversity Research collection for his extensive graphic.

The collection will be housed in the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum when the building is ready.

See more photos and his graphic here.

Construction begins for Singapore's first purpose-built natural history museum

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This story was first published in The Straits Times on Jan 11, 2013

The groundbreaking ceremony marks the culmination of three years of fundraising efforts by a team of academics.

Read more here.

Dinosaurs' lair to have prehistoric facade

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This story was first published in The Straits Times on May 19, 2012

The new Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum may look ancient on the outside, with a facade designed to look like moss-covered stones, but on the inside it is packed to the brim with cutting-edge technology to make sure its collection is protected.

Read more about the design and details here.

Dino Twinky is here

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This story was first published in The Straits Times on April 25, 2012

Twinky, the baby sauropod that is just 12m long, arrived in Singapore after a month-long journey, the first of three sets of dinosaur bones for the museum.

It will be stored in a high-security warehouse till it is unveiled on Saturday when the museum opens.

Read more here.

Get ready for Twinky & friends

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This story was first published in The Straits Times on Dec 4, 2011

Sunday Times News Editor Tan Dawn Wei, who has been tracking the development of the natural history museum, visited Utah for a close-up look at the home of Twinky and two other dinosaurs.

Read more about how the dinosaurs were found and authenticated, as well as the logistics of reassembling them, here.

Mystery donor for dinosaur fund revealed

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This story was first published in The Straits Times on Sept 8, 2011

The donor who enabled the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research to buy three dinosaur skeletons is Mrs Della Lee, wife of Lee Foundation chairman Lee Seng Gee.

The American sellers asked for $8 million but the Museum would not say what the final deal was.

Read more here.

Mystery donor clinches dinosaur deal

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This story was first published in The Straits Times on Sept 7, 2011

The Museum had missed the July 31 deadline set by the sellers, Wyoming-based fossil company Dinosauria International. It managed to raise only close to $2 million, and pleaded for an extension to the deadline.

The owners of Dinosauria International agreed to the extension, despite other offers for the bones, as they wanted the bones to go to an academic institution or museum.

Read more here.

Natural history museum to get a natural look

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This story was first published in The Straits Times on July 10, 2011

Singaporean architect Mok Wei Wei's nature-inspired design won the hearts of the Museum's custodians. His design was among 20 proposals received in an open tender exercise.

Read more here.

Museum’s $12m race for dino family

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This story was first published in The Straits Times on July 10, 2011

The price tag for a trio of dinosaur skeletons - a cool $12 million. One of the reasons for the hefty price tag - the two adults and a baby were found together and could well be a family.

More than 80 per cent of the bones were retrieved, a rarity for fossil finds.

Read more about the chase for the bones here.

$10m gift for natural history museum

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This story was first published in The Straits Times on Jan 24, 2010

The push for a natural history museum got a major boost in 2010 when an anonymous donor contributed $10 million to the building fund.

Read about the beginnings of the project here.