The Moving Museum: Leaving your Legacy

By Claire Chong, Clarice Chee, Jonathan Lim and Laura Nickles, honours year students from the NUS Business School, doing their consulting practicum module with the NUS Museum.

A common interest in social entrepreneurship and a desire to inspire social change led us to NUS Museum for our consulting practicum – to raise awareness about the museum and increase its visitor numbers to events and exhibitions organised. It was an excellent opportunity, as this non-profit organisation is directly affiliated to NUS, and located on the Kent Ridge campus. We strongly identify with the institution’s mission to foster an all-rounded education, believing that a university education should not be limited to academic excellence but also encompasses development and exposure to creativity, ideas and the arts.

Throughout the year, we embarked on various projects to achieve our aim. Besides establishing a Facebook page, NUS Museum Live, we also assisted the Museum to organise public events such as a symposium on art activism, held at the National Museum of Singapore, as a parallel event of the Singapore Biennale 2011 earlier this year. This Art Activism Symposium brought in international artists such as Tisna Sanjaya and Alma Quinto to share about their work and experiences.

To reach out to the NUS Community, we organised The Moving Museum: Leaving your Legacy activity to provide information about the NUS Museum and stimulate interest in the arts, heritage and culture on campus. One of the challenges the NUS Museum faced was the lack of visibility in campus. As such, we decided to ‘bring’ the museum to the students, and hence the title “The Moving Museum”. This event was carried out from 29 August to 2 September 2011, across different faculties on the Kent Ridge Campus, such as Science, Medicine, Business, and Arts and Social Sciences. We were excited about the opportunity to mingle with students and share our love for the NUS Museum and its contribution to campus and Singapore.

Creation of The Moving Museum

As The Moving Museum was a rare chance for us to have any form of interaction with students from different faculties, we felt that it was essential to create visual attention besides providing sufficient information of the Museum to generate interest. We decided to design huge eye-catching banners that served to provide information about the NUS Museum’s permanent collection and current exhibitions. Catalogues and brochures on individual exhibitions were also presented so that interested students could find out more. In addition to this, we sold post-it pads, designed by us, especially for the NUS Museum and included a slideshow of the museum’s activities and exhibitions to add a new dimension to The Moving Museum and allow students a better understanding of what NUS Museum encompassed.

Apart from providing general information through catalogues, posters, brochures and audio-visuals, The Moving Museum also consisted of a Legacy Board, which aimed to foster interaction between the students and the NUS Museum. We wanted to capture students’ sentiments of the NUS Museum and this was achieved through our photo board and tag-cards that began with “I love NUS Museum because…” or “I want to visit the NUS Museum because…”. Despite the museum’s low level of awareness amongst the student population, the feedback gathered was that a great deal of students felt that it was pertinent to have a richer and more vibrant campus life that included the NUS Museum. Many expressed their support for the NUS Museum and were proud that such a rare gem could be found on campus.

To facilitate our discovery of student sentiments, we conducted a campus survey to gain a better understanding of the NUS community. This valuable insight gathered will provide a more holistic view of the museum’s current position in the eyes and hearts of the NUS community. With knowledge of such information, the museum will be able serve the community in a more effective manner and ultimately garner more funding support.

Over the week, we managed to reach an approximate audience of 6000 people, consisting of Singaporean and exchange students, researchers and professors across different faculties. Numerous photos and hand written notes by students were contributed on our legacy board, which made the event extremely successful. The overwhelming response was highly encouraging, and The Moving Museum definitely served as a platform for museum outreach activities. This positive feedback is a healthy indication for the potential of the NUS Museum and its future activities within campus. Many students also expressed noteworthy interest in being involved with NUS Museum activities, such as collaborating in the designing of collaterals, volunteering their time and efforts for guided tours, and even internship positions.

The experience we had organising this event has been fulfilling and meaningful, as we learnt a lot from the months of preparation and execution of the activity. We are glad to be given such an opportunity to give back to NUS Community and sincerely hope that others have greatly benefited from the event. It has certainly been a joy working with the NUS Museum for the larger university community which we hold closely to our hearts. The Moving Museum will continue to be displayed in NUS’ three campuses.