Art Science Museum in Singapore has very mixed reviews on Tripadvisor and its difficult to judge from their website if its a place worth visiting while on a short trip to Singapore. I usually do not blog about individual activities, but this one deserved a detailed write up because of the diversity in exhibits.
Where is Art Science Museum?
Art Science Museum is a part of the Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore. The museum is designed in the shape of a lotus flower, with a round base in the middle and ten extensions on its sides.
Who should visit Art Science Museum?
The museum is designed to have exhibits for all age group. However, the galleries and exhibits keep changing and visitors will need to check current exhibits to see if something interests them. For eg. when my sister visited Singapore in April 2017, there was a exhibition by NASA that documented the journey of humans through space. It was very inspiring for her teenage son who was thrilled to see real rocket engines and scale models of rockets and space ships (not to mention have an icecream that astronauts get to eat in space 😛 ) When we went in Dec 2017, there was a gallery put up by Natural History Museum in London about treasure of the natural world. This was not very interesting for our 7 yr old, but many would find it fascinating. You can check the list of current exhibitions at any time on https://www.marinabaysands.com/museum/exhibitions-and-events.html
There are 2 permanent exhibits as on May 2018: The Future World and Into the Wild. Future World would be fascinating for kids under the age of 10; while Into the Wild technology would interest people of all age group.
How to reach Art Science Museum?
By MRT: Get down at the Bayfront station (CE1/DT16).It is an interchange station on the Circle Line (Yellow) and Downtown Line (Blue). Art Science Museum is around a km walk from the station.
By Bus: Marina Bay Sands Theater stop is the closest. Bus Nos.97, 97E, 106, 133, NR1 and NR6 go through the stop.
Taxi: You can get a drop at “The Shoppes” at Marina Bay Sands.
Timings: Daily10 am to 7 pm. Last entry is at 6 pm.
Tickets to Art Science Museum: Tickets are available at the basement of the museum. You can sign up for the Sands Rewards Lifestyle membership and get 1 complimentary ticket when you buy one standard ticket. You can read more about the details on how to pre-register for the card on my blog post https://coveringmiles.com/how-to-save-money-when-travelling-to-singapore/
Ticket price usually depends on the number of paid exhibitions. Some of the exhibits / galleries are free (like Into the Wild). You can get details of latest pricing on https://www.marinabaysands.com/museum/ticketing.html
What’s inside the Art Science Museum?
There is a quote written inside the museum:
There’s only one difference between art and science. In science, universe is in control and in art, you are.
The museum explores the relationship between art, science and technology to create an interactive and exploratory space. There are galleries inside the museum, most of them temporary. Most of the temporary galleries are aimed at middle school or high school students, but it really depends on the theme of the gallery. It also conducts events and workshops on regular basis. You can see list of current exhibitions and events at their website: https://www.marinabaysands.com/museum.html
I am covering only The Future World and Into the Wild in my post because these are the only permanent exhibits.
FUTURE WORLD AT ART SCIENCE MUSEUM, SINGAPORE
Future World is spread over 1500 sq. Meters, which is almost 1/4th of the total area of Art Science Museum. It was built in collaboration with teamLam, Japanese group known for its award winning art collective & Panasonic. One can think of Future World as a digital playground, where installations dynamically evolve from active interaction with the users.
The exhibition is divided into 4 zones: Nature, Town, Park and Space. There are 15 exhibits divided among these 4 zones. Most exciting of these are Town and Park; which are favourite among kids.
- Transcending Space
- Black Waves
- Sliding through the fruit field
The first exhibition “Transcending Space” uses the subject of Yatagarasu, a three-legged crow from Japanese mythology. It illustrates the creation of life. We did not really understand much of this and proceeded to the next one – Black Waves. It simulates the movement of waves in water and is very contemplative.
Nature merges with town with a playful exhibit Sliding through the fruit field. This is a slide where fruits (digital 🙂 ) grow. Kids love the slide where seeds bud, sprout and begin to grow. This exhibition is supposed to demonstrate the creation of life. For kids, its a fun colorful slide 🙂
This is where all the fun is 🙂 It is in town where visitors of all age group become players to create a urban town through innovative ways.
- Table where little people live: This is a circular table and little people run across the interactive tabletop. Visitors can play with these little people using objects. When someone puts an object on the table (like hand / bottle/ mobile etc), movement of these little people change and they interact with the object. They either jump, climb, slide or sometimes even get ladder to get on top of it 🙂
There is another table with wooden cups, plates and pans around it. If you keep a plate on the table, some food will appear on it (like orange or apple or banana). Similarly, if you keep the pan, a digital fire lights up and fries an omlette in the pan. It was quite an interesting exhibit.
- Connecting! Train blocks: This was one exhibit where kiddo would have loved to spend half a day 😀 There is a table on which there are blocks of 3 colors. Blocks of same colors and blocks that are close to one another connect digitally. 2 blue blocks connect to become a stream, 2 brown ones become road and 2 green ones become railway tracks. Additionally there are some cloud blocks that become airspace. Once a pathway is built, vehicles move on them. So cars, trucks move on the road, there is a train running on the track and planes flying in the sky. Kids can use various blocks to make an animated town, complete with transportation infrastructure.
- Media Block Chair: This is a gallery where blocks of various colors can be used to build various types of furnitures, walls etc. Every block has 3 protruded and 3 indented sides which fit with other blocks. Joining 2 blocks changes their color and one can make different types of chairs, tables etc.
- Sketch Town: Sketch town is equally popular with kids and adults. There is a town depicted on a large screen with popular Singapore landmarks like Merlion, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore Flyer etc. The town evolves when kids add structure like buildings & vehicles. There are sheets with different types of vehicles & buildings and visitors can color them with different color crayons.
The drawings can then be scanned and their 3D versions appear on the screen. Buildings get placed in empty lots, cars, trucks and cranes move on the road and UFOs, planes and Santa’s sleigh fly in the sky.
The whole process is very simple for kids to understand. They can let their imagination run wild and the excitement is obvious.
- Sketch Town Paper craft: This in an extension to Sketch town exhibit where your 2D drawings can be translated into a 3D object. A scanner prints your 2D drawing into a 3D craft, which can be cut & pasted to make a 3D object. You can either take the craft home with you or put it besides other 3D objects on display.
- Graffiti Nature: Moving freely between town and the next zone park is the Graffiti nature. Similar to Sketch town, you can color insects and animals and scan them to see them below you on the floor. Animals eat other small animals, lizards eat insects and butterflies increase in places where there are more flowers.
- Universe of water particles: This is a virtual waterfall created in the 3D space. This is not an interactive exhibit and was done with quickly.
- Sketch Aquarium: Sketch aquarium is very similar to sketch town, the difference being a rich marine town is evolving under the water instead of on the ground. Visitors can color different sea creatures and scan them. They appear on the big screen floating with the other creations. Like us, few others were celebrating their kid’s birthday in the museum and were wishing their kids through these exhibits.
- Light Ball Orchestra: Right in the middle of the park is the light ball orchestra, full of balls of different colors. Rolling a ball changes the color and sound of the ball. I don’t think the kids notice it, but the balls on the ceiling interact with the ones on the ground and make music. Kiddo just played with the balls as he does in the park and didn’t bother much about behind the scene activities 🙂
- Create! Hopscotch for geniuses: This is a popular kids game of hopscotch, where visitors can create their own hopscotch course on a screen. Once done, the pattern appears on the screen and kids can jump over it. We did not spend much time here because kiddo had cough that day and was already exhausted.
- Story of the time when Gods were everywhere: There is a huge screen with various symbols emerging on it. These are supposed to be Japanese symbols for animals and birds. As kids touch the symbol, it turns into the animal that it represents. The cow on the screen moos, horse neighs and the birds chirp and fly. Kiddo had seen a similar exhibit at MOSH! at Sentosa and didn’t seem much interested in this one. The one at MOSH! was more interesting to him because it had planes emerging on the screen rather than animals 😀
- Crystal Universe: This artwork consists of 1,70,000 LED lights and uses 4D vision technology. It is supposed to give an illusion of stars moving in space. The exhibit changes based on the visitor’s movement. Visitors can interact with the exhibit by using smart devices installed there to change the position of planets, stars etc.
If you are interested to know details of each exhibition, technology behind them, or look at their videos; follow these links:
Transcending Space@ Art Science Museum: https://www.teamlab.art/w/crows_transcending_space/
Black Waves: https://www.teamlab.art/w/black_waves
Sliding through fruit field: https://www.teamlab.art/w/fruitfield/
Table where little people live: https://www.teamlab.art/w/kobitotable/
Connecting! Train Blocks: https://www.teamlab.art/w/trainblock
Graffiti Nature: https://www.teamlab.art/w/graffiti_nature/
Media Block chairs: https://www.teamlab.art/w/mediablockchair
Sketch Town: https://www.teamlab.art/w/sketchtown
Sketch Town Paper Craft: https://www.teamlab.art/w/sketchtown_papercraft/
Universe of water particle:https://www.teamlab.art/w/uowp
Sketch Aquarium: https://www.teamlab.art/w/aquarium/
Light Ball Orchestra: https://www.teamlab.art/w/orchestra/
Create! Hopscotch for geniuses: https://www.teamlab.art/w/create-hopscotch
Story of the time when God was everywhere: https://www.teamlab.art/w/stgse/
Crystal Universe: https://www.teamlab.art/w/crystaluniverse/
Panasonic Case study of the museum: https://panasonic.net/cns/projector/casestudies/museum002/
INTO THE WILD AT ART SCIENCE MUSEUM, SINGAPORE
Into the Wild: An Immersive Virtual Adventure is a latest addition to the museum. It is built using a technology called Tango, developed by Google. The exhibition is free and you can collect you VR device by providing a government issued ID card. You can also reserve one in advance by filling up the form at https://intothewild.sg/booking/
The 1000 sq.meters of the museum is transformed into a virtual rainforest that you can explore using the Virtual Reality smartphone. As you move into the deep forest, you will encounter various wild animals found in South Asian rainforests: pangolins, tapirs, mousedeers, orangutans and tigers. You will need to take action based on instructions and you will be lead up to Level 4, where you can plant a virtual tree and accompany it with a pledge to WWF. A real tree will be planted in Rimbang Baling, in Indonesia – one of the last pristine rainforests in Sumatra, and critical territory for endangered Sumatran tigers on your behalf. I don’t have any pics of into the wild because we were all busy exploring the virtual jungles 🙂
To sum it up, Art Science Museum is a must visit for families with kids.
If you have been to Art Science Museum and think I have missed out on something interesting, post in the comment section. If you liked the post and think it will help someone plan their Singapore trip, do share the link with them.