Music performances, a flea market and more at National Museum Singapore's 130th birthday bash this weekend

The installation La Betonniere Boule A Facettes on the front lawn of National Museum Singapore.
The installation La Betonniere Boule A Facettes on the front lawn of National Museum Singapore.ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

There will also be music performances and a flea market as part of its 130th anniversary celebrations

Party on the front lawn of the National Museum Singapore (NMS) as a concrete mixer truck covered in mirror panels rotates to becomes a giant disco ball bathing the surrounding buildings in light and music this weekend.

The installation called La Betonniere Boule A Facettes by French artists Benedetto Bufalino and Benoit Deseille is part of a series of five art installations in and around the museum by various artists, as part of its 130th anniversary celebrations.

The celebrations will run from Friday to Sunday, from 10am to 10pm daily, and include everything from an artisanal retro market to live music performances. Some installations, such as the disco concrete mixer, will run until Oct 22.

The museum, which is the oldest in Singapore, started as the Raffles Library and Museum and was opened on Oct 12, 1887, by the governor of the Straits Settlements, Sir Frederick Weld. It survived the Japanese Occupation and was renamed Syonan Museum.

A commemorative gift set has been produced to mark the occasion.

Shaped like a large red leather-bound book, it opens up to reveal reproductions of 35 photographs, six postcards and nine building plans that show the museum's evolution. Some of these items have been published for the first time.

  • BOOK IT / DIRECTOR'S TOUR: WELCOME TO THE NATIONAL MUSEUM WHERE: National Museum Singapore, 93 Stamford Road

  • WHEN: Friday, 8pm and Sunday, 5pm

    ADMISSION: $50 a person, maximum 20 persons each tour. Register at


    WHERE: Concourse Gallery, Level 1 National Museum of Singapore

    WHEN: Ongoing, 10am to 7pm (last registration at 6pm)

    ADMISSION: $35 a child. On-site registration for chidren aged four to 12 is on a first-come, first-served basis. Visit for more information and updates on the full programme offerings and rates

"The earliest photos in the collection are ones of the laying of the foundation stone and the original facade of the museum - it was much smaller than it is today," says curator Daniel Tham, 36, who worked on selecting the images that were reproduced for the box set.

One of the photographs is that of the skeleton of an Indian fin whale that was on display in the museum at various locations from 1907 until the early 1970s, which Mr Tham notes that the older generation will probably remember. The gift set retails at $60 at the Museum Label shop on the ground floor of the museum. However, it will retail at a special price of $50 until Dec 31.

This weekend, visitors also get the chance to go on a personal, hour-long guided tour by NMS director Angelita Teo, who has been with the museum for 15 years.

She was first involved in the museum's $132.6-million redevelopment project in 2002 that involved the construction of its extension building, and was appointed director in 2013. Tour participants will get to go behind the scenes and view spaces not accessible to the public.


There are also various tours by the NMS' curators, in which you can learn how galleries are put together. Alternatively, go on tours with the museum's docents. Visit or to register for the tours.

Also, revisit the Story Of The Forest interactive art installation at the Glass Rotunda, which has been on display since December last year. This time, visitors will be able to smell flowers and the forest, with scents provided by fragrance and flavour company Givaudan, as they move from section to section within the space.

Kids have not been left out either. Presence Pictures Playscape, meant for children aged four to 12, lets them create virtual-reality worlds through drawings that can be converted to animations. The 45-minute programme can house five to seven children each time and costs $35 a child. Register at

Watch music performances by the likes of Majesty, which comprise veteran rocker Hanafie Warren and a backing band made up of members of Helter Skelter and Rockers, as well as check out a flea market that includes car-boot sales of new and vintage items by Retro Factory.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 11, 2017, with the headline 'Party at the National Museum'. Print Edition | Subscribe