Permanent ExhibitionsCulture, Collection

Asian Civilisations Museum

Location
Singapore
Client
National Heritage Board / Asian Civilisations Museum
Surface area
2460 m² / 26,479 sq ft
Completion date
2003
A history of Singaporean cultures, from the mouths of Singaporeans themselves

The permanent exhibition of the Asian Civilisations Museum is a collection of prized ethnographic material that offers a broad but integrated perspective on a variety of cultures across Asia. GSM Project delivered all aspects of the permanent exhibition, including concept, design, multimedia production, and the building and installation of all exhibition components.

Interactive virtual hosts

GSM Project designed a team of interactive virtual hosts to guide visitors throughout the exhibition. These real people—representing the diverse cultural backgrounds of real Singaporeans—speak from experience about their personal lives, covering such subjects as history, religion, literature, language, and performing arts. Over five hours of audiovisual content is stored in the Hosts and can be accessed by visitors at any time through a simple touch-screen menu. The sixteen interactive “talking heads” are also interlinked and can exchange information, so that they recognize each visitor—thanks to a bar-coded ticket—and know where they’ve been and what exhibits they’ve already seen.

Complex showcases

The construction and installation of the museum’s sets and showcases—some 200 special climate-controlled showcases with integrated fibre-optic lighting, and some of the largest showcases in the world—came with its own set of complexities. Sets were built and assembled in Montreal before being dismantled, crated, and shipped to Singapore for installation. Showcases were technically designed in Belgium and were then shipped to Singapore where layout and lighting was tested. And since only curators are allowed to handle the priceless objects in the museum’s collection, three-dimensional foam replicas of over 1300 items were created to ensure that lighting in the showcases would be perfect.

Summary

Because the museum deals with a diversity of cultures, visions, and values, GSM Project had to remain aware of certain social and cultural issues while designing the ten exhibition galleries that address Singapore's plurality of ancestral backgrounds.