Artefacts come to life after dark at selected museums this school holiday

A retelling of the ancient garuda's story at the Indian Heritage Centre, as part of a programme called Artefacts Alive! ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
Participants will get a chance to make their own garuda with glow-in-the-dark feathers. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - The ancient garuda, a mighty eagle that protects other birds from harm, is depicted on several artefacts at the Indian Heritage Centre in Little India.

Over the next five Saturdays, the majestic bird will come to life after dark, as storytellers regale visitors with its story from Indian mythology, as part of the first night-themed Children's Season 2022 at museums.

Participants will also get a chance to make their own garuda with glow-in-the-dark feathers.

At a preview of the story titled The God Of Birds at the museum on Wednesday night, (May 25), Mr Puvam Selvam, 38, a trade compliance manager who has one daughter, welcomed the night programmes, as they meant he could visit museums with his family after work.

Ms Cherie Gwee, 39, a stay-home mother of two, said: "The storytelling session is really engaging, especially since it is face to face. With the pandemic, we don't really have a lot of these face-to-face interactions, which is essential for children."

Mr Gerald Wee, director for international and museum relations at the National Heritage Board (NHB), said the night-themed Children's Season was intended "to present another side to museums, offer a different experience for visitors as they rediscover our heritage and culture, and spark their curiosity about museum spaces after hours".

The Children's Season is an annual festival presented by the NHB and the Museum Roundtable to engage the young and their families on Singapore's heritage.

The retelling of the garuda's story is part of a programme called Artefacts Alive, which features storytelling inspired by museum artefacts, as well as craft sessions, at the Indian Heritage Centre, the Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) and the National Museum of Singapore.

At the ACM's Court and Company Gallery, children get to journey with a very tiny royal princess as she goes on a pursuit to find the strongest suitor, and learns how strength can appear in various forms. The story is titled The Strongest Of Them All.

At the National Museum, the Runaway Kueh is inspired by the story of the gingerbread man. The story features a kueh that escapes from the kueh seller's kitchen, and how various early settlers like an amah, a night soil collector and a rickshaw puller help chase it.

An installation lets families find out more about such settlers depicted in the story.

A total of 28 museums are participating in this year's Children's Season, 14 of which offer night-time activities.

IHC's first-ever Enchanting Forest Maze. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

The Indian Heritage Centre will also have its first Enchanting Forest Maze, where children get to encounter and learn about various species of forest creatures depicted in artefacts, as they answer questions to exit the forest - and redeem stickers.

Mr Alvin Tan, deputy chief executive for policy and community at NHB, said that beyond the installations and programmes, he hopes to cultivate a new generation of museumgoers.

"We believe that positive museum encounters during childhood actually shapes how a child would view, support, and even contribute to museums in the future," he said.

As part of the festival, children can pick up a special "passport" at participating museums, and collect 23 uniquely designed stamps from Saturday (May 28) till June 26.

A special "passport" can be picked up at participating museums, with 23 uniquely designed stamps to be collected. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

The stamp imprints will also glow in the dark under UV light, in line with this year's night theme.

For more details of Children's Season 2022, visit this website.

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