Museum setting up retreat for special needs children

As part of efforts to make cultural and heritage spaces more inclusive for those with additional needs, the National Museum of Singapore (NMS) will be introducing a Quiet Room as a retreat for special needs children.

Designed to provide a calm and relaxing setting for these children who may experience over-stimulation from the outside environment, the 25 sq m room will be able to accommodate three to four families at any one time.

This was announced during a gala event yesterday at the museum hosted by French banking group BNP Paribas, the main sponsor of the room.

This contribution was made in conjunction with the bank's 50th anniversary in Singapore and in line with the bank's commitment towards diversity and inclusion.

The room will be a part of the museum's upcoming initiative, Quiet Thursdays, in which families with special needs children and special education schools will be allowed to visit the room from 9am on Thursdays, an hour before the museum opens its doors to the public.

Trained personnel will also be present in the room to help the guests if necessary.

In addition to the early start on Thursdays, the room will be made available during the museum's standard operating hours of 10am to 7pm daily.

Details have not been finalised but the room will be designed to enhance the visitors' experience at the museum through the use of sensory elements.

The Quiet Room will be located on the second floor of the museum and is targeted to be launched by the last quarter of this year.

This initiative is in line with the National Heritage Board's Our SG Heritage Plan, which aims to encourage greater accessibility to cultural and heritage spaces for groups with additional needs.

Besides Quiet Thursdays, the museum has introduced other initiatives to promote greater accessibility to the museum.

This includes GosTan Back, a family theatre programme introduced in 2017 which catered to special needs children through interactive performances.

Ms Angelita Teo, the museum's director, said it will continue to explore other approaches to provide a safe space for groups with additional needs.

She added: "NMS aims to be an inclusive social space for people to come together to learn and appreciate Singapore's history and heritage, regardless of their learning abilities or social backgrounds."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 06, 2018, with the headline 'Museum setting up retreat for special needs children'. Print Edition | Subscribe