Bust of the emperor Hadrian, Tivoli, Italy, Around AD 125−130
Get up close and personal with some of the world’s finest artefacts from now until the end of May! For the next six months, 239 exceptional objects and treasures will be on display in the Treasures of the World from the British Museum exhibition at the National Museum of Singapore.
This highly-anticipated exhibition from the British Museum in London encompasses more than two million years of abundant culture and history, and features relics from ancient civilisations and treasures spanning Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Europe, the Americas and Oceania. The blockbuster exhibition is the largest and most comprehensive show from the British Museum’s collection in Singapore to date, and is a collaboration between the National Museum of Singapore and the British Museum, the oldest public national museum in the world.
The oldest object in the exhibition is a stone handaxe from Tanzania made around 800,000 years ago, while the most recent artefact dates to 2013. Other iconic artefacts from the collection include two 11th-century chess pieces discovered on the Hebridean Island of Lewis, skilfully crafted brass plaques from the West African state of Benin, ancient jewellery from the Royal Cemetery at Ur in southern Iraq, and an exquisitely painted mummy board from ancient Egypt. Each object represents the cultural and artistic achievements of the civilisation it comes from, and collectively, the collection explores the enduring themes of life that connect people across the world, regardless of when or where they live.
Closer to home, the exhibition also includes items collected by Sir Stamford Raffles when he was in Southeast Asia, such as a Javanese mask and a kris and scabbard dating back to the early 19th century. Two artworks from Singapore’s national collection, Anthony Poon’s W – White on 2P Waves and Iskandar Jalil’s Blue Vessel have also been included to juxtapose the nation’s artistic development against global art movements in the 1980s.
Director of the National Museum of Singapore, Ms Angelita Teo, said, “The British Museum’s aim of curating a collection of objects that showcases the entire world, both in the past and present, is very much aligned with what the National Museum endeavours to do for our audience. This exhibition is both a timely reminder of the importance of the object in preserving Singapore’s history, as well as a step towards the appreciation of the common values, aspirations and themes that connect us all. In today’s integrated world, it is important that we learn not just about our own heritage and culture, but also to be exposed to and to appreciate that of the world around us.”
Keeper of the Department of Asia, British Museum, Ms Jane Portal, added, “Singapore and the United Kingdom have a strong and deep-rooted relationship, which began with the arrival of Sir Stamford Raffles to the island-state in 1819 and endures till today. Although the British Museum and the National Museum of Singapore have collaborated in the past, this present partnership is unprecedented in its scale and ambition and marks another milestone in our mutually-beneficial friendship. This is the first time that our collection has been presented as a comprehensive exhibition in Southeast Asia, and it has been specially designed for audiences in the region. We are delighted to work with the National Museum and look forward to many more collaborations to come.”
Treasures of the World from the British Museum also includes two Young Explorers’ Zones designed for children aged 7 to 12. Featuring activity sheets and learning stations, these zones enable children and their parents to embark on a learning journey across the different regions of the world. In conjunction with the exhibition, visitors can also enjoy public programmes such as workshops, curated tours, lectures by representatives from the British Museum and other historians, as well as theatre performances in the gallery. Merchandise inspired by the exhibition and from the British Museum, as well as the exhibition catalogue, will be on sale at the National Museum’s Museum Label shop.
Treasures of the World from the British Museum will be held at the National Museum of Singapore from 5 December 2015 to 29 May 2016.
With a history dating back to its inception in 1887, the National Museum of Singapore is the nation’s oldest museum with a progressive mind. Its galleries adopt cutting-edge and multi-perspective ways of presenting history and culture to redefine conventional museum experience. A cultural and architectural landmark in Singapore, the Museum hosts innovative festivals and events all year round—the dynamic Night Festival, visually arresting art installations, as well as amazing performances and film screenings—in addition to presenting thought-provoking exhibitions involving critically important collections of artefacts. The programming is supported by a wide range of facilities and services including F&B, retail and a Resource Centre. The National Museum of Singapore re-opened in December 2006 after a three-year redevelopment, and celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2012. The Museum refreshed its permanent galleries and re-opened them on 19 September 2015 for Singapore’s Golden Jubilee. For more details, please visit www.nationalmuseum.sg.
Founded in 1753, the British Museum was the first national public museum in the world. From the outset it was a museum of the world, for the world, and this idea still lies at the heart of the Museum’s mission today. The collection tells the stories of cultures across the world, from the dawn of human history, over two million years ago, to the present. Objects range from the earliest tools made by humans and treasures from the ancient world to more recent acquisitions from Africa, Oceania and the Americas, the Middle East, Asia and Europe, as well as the national collections of prints and drawings, and coins and medals. World-famous objects such as the Rosetta Stone, Parthenon sculptures, and Egyptian mummies are visited by over 6 million visitors per year. In addition to work in London, the Museum takes part in an extensive programme of loans and tours, both across the UK and throughout the world. Find out more at britishmuseum.org