SINGAPORE - The sounds of children playing hide-and-seek may be muted nowadays. Now, however, youngsters can band together online to find a new friend, the lovable character Ai.
A Web and mobile game will allow users to navigate panoramic photographs of museum spaces, locate hidden clues or treasures and discover a special outfit for Ai - a six-year-old boy who travels the world and shares a strong bond with his grandfather.
Titled "Ai Love Museum: Hide-N-Seek", it is one of the many offerings of this year's Children's Season, organised by the National Heritage Board (NHB) and the Museum Roundtable (MR).
This year, there will be more than 70 family-friendly exhibitions and programmes.
"Our goal is to provide some kind of relief and cheer to Singaporeans during this period of Covid-19," said Mr Alvin Tan, deputy chief executive of the NHB, last Friday (Nov 20).
He added: "Parenting during a pandemic is only going to get tougher, so the Roundtable decided to rally together, develop and offer family-friendly programmes so that Singaporeans can enjoy a 'Singapoliday'."
It took more than a year for the NHB and all 22 members of the MR to plan this event, originally slated to take place between May and June. However, due to the circuit breaker, all preparations ground to a halt. After phase two commenced, programmes were also revised countless times to accommodate safe distancing measures.
Mr Tan said he was grateful for the museums' efforts. "We are really thankful to the Museum Roundtable members, because they are very resourceful," he said. "They did not only physical programmes, but also digital programmes just in case."
With the extra months of planning, some of the museums found the opportunity to join forces. For instance, the Malay Heritage Centre (MHC) will host two workshops featuring gemstones from the Gem Museum's collection. The MHC, the Indian Heritage Centre and the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall are also calling for children aged 12 and below to create "mini-museums" at home.
At the centre of this year's Children's Season is Ai, created by artist Peter Draw, 36. Mr Draw was roped in after Mr Tan caught sight of a 5m-tall inflatable of Ai outside the Victoria Concert Hall last year. His participation marks the first time the NHB and MR have partnered with a local artist.
"All good things are always a collaborative effort," said Mr Draw.
Children's Season will run until Jan 3, and 54 out of 73 events are free. Registration links for all events can be found on the NHB's website. Those who wish to use SingapoRediscovers vouchers can check if their preferred museum is approved by the Singapore Tourism Board.