On 10 December 2016, the Glass Rotunda at the National Museum of Singapore will be reopening after two years of renovation works as part of the final phase of the museum’s revamp of its permanent galleries. An ode to the National Museum of Singapore’s beginnings where a substantial part of its collection focused on natural history, the Glass Rotunda will be repurposed to showcase two new exciting permanent installations – a commissioned work titled Story of the Forest, a larger-than-life interactive digital art installation created by internationally renowned Japanese digital art collective teamLab, and the Singapore, Very Old Tree exhibit by acclaimed local photographer and artist, Robert Zhao.
“This is the first revamp of the Glass Rotunda since it was launched back in 2006 as the signature feature of the Museum’s new extension. We are excited to reintroduce it to our visitors with two new installations that reference the museum’s early collections history and invite discourse and dialogue between the historical and the contemporary,” said Angelita Teo, Director of the National Museum of Singapore, “Through both installations, we hope to offer our visitors new ways of looking at Singapore’s history and culture.”
On entering the Glass Rotunda, visitors will be introduced to Story of the Forest, where they will be immersed in a massive interactive digital installation inspired by the National Museum of Singapore’s prized collection – The William Farquhar Collection of Natural History Drawings. With a ceiling measuring 15m high and an 80m passage that continues on from the bridge and down to the base of the drum, this is the most challenging digital artwork installation created by teamLab to date. The installation will utilise cutting-edge technology to transform 69 drawings from the collection into animated illustrations, which will come to life and interact with visitors as they make their way down the Glass Rotunda.
At the bottom of the Glass Rotunda, visitors will also encounter the Singapore, Very Old Tree exhibit by renowned local photographer and artist, Robert Zhao. Inspired by one of the oldest postcards found in the National Archives of Singapore depicting an unspecified tree dating back to the year 1904, the exhibition was first commissioned as part of the Singapore Memory Project and held at the National Library Singapore in May 2015 as part of the nation’s SG50 celebrations. The exhibit, which will showcase 17 images of trees around Singapore and highlight intimate stories of each, will give visitors an alternative perspective of Singapore’s history and the personal connections that Singaporeans have with our local trees.
Both Story of the Forest and the Singapore, Very Old Tree will offer museum goers the option of beginning their experience of the Singapore History Gallery from the Glass Rotunda. Together, the revamped Glass Rotunda and the updated permanent galleries provide visitors with an overview of Singapore’s history, from a small fishing village to the bustling modern metropolis it is today. Visitors can look forward to experiencing the new installations at the revamped Glass Rotunda from 10 December 2016.