Singapore will get its first maritime museum come 15 October 2011, when the Maritime Experiential Museum & Aquarium (MEMA) opens at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS).
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Housed in an iconic steel and glass ship hull at the RWS waterfront, MEMA promises a new museum-going experience that will cover maritime talks, children’s workshops and exploration on life-size replica historical ships.
Designed by Ralph Appelbaum, whose firm Ralph Appelbaum Associates is one of the largest museum design and planning firms in the world, visitors to MEMA are taken back in time to one of the greatest eras in history, where the tales of sea adventurers and the growth of sea trade between Asia and the Middle East are told.
Mr Jason Horkin, Director of Attractions (West Zone), Resorts World Sentosa, said: “What makes this museum unique is that the primary focus is not just on showing its exhibits but also on the educational history of the silk routes.”
“We want the museum to be a place where everyone in the community can come together to learn and experience. A lot of effort have gone into the planning of the museum to create a sense of exploration and to have interactive exhibits that encourage imagination and creativity.”
Interactive exhibits include a musical ensemble that features instruments that can be found at the various ports of call, like the sitar from India, santur from Iran and bongo drums from Kenya. Visitors can “play” and “mix and match” the instruments via a touchscreen panel, create a new tune, and send the tune via electronic mail.
The museum also offers a calendar of events, talks, educational programmes and workshops on maritime history. These are led by academic experts, professional facilitators and veteran maritime industry leaders on a variety of topics including exploration, arts, and the cultural history of various regions. The museum is also working with schools to tailor programmes and tours which tie-in with their curriculum needs. These tours and programmes place special emphasis on subject matter that is taught at the Upper Primary and Lower Secondary levels, and brings classroom topics to life through interaction with the museum’s guides and staff and specialised activity guides that promote experiential learning.
“The opening of MEMA, Singapore’s first museum dedicated to the exploration of the Maritime Silk Route is a significant addition to RWS and the existing range of leisure offerings in Singapore, ” commented Ms Carrie Kwik, Executive Director, Integrated Resorts, Industry Development Group (II), Singapore Tourism Board. “MEMA, together with RWS’ upcoming attractions such as Universal Studios Singapore’s TRANSFORMERS The Ride and other quality developments like Gardens by the Bay and the world’s first River Safari, will add vibrancy to the city’s evolving tourism landscape. Visitors can look forward to a richer and more differentiated experience in Singapore, thereby enhancing our value proposition as a destination of choice.”
A departure from the traditional gallery setting, MEMA boasts a maritime themed environment, with a variety of complementary exhibits. Upon arrival, visitors will be greeted by the mighty Bao Chuan, a full-sized replica of the bow of legendary seafarer Admiral Zheng He’s treasure ship.
The greatest explorer in Chinese history, Zheng He launched many exploratory voyages to Asia and Africa, sailing with fleets of up to 300 ships. An introduction to his voyages from China to the ‘Western Ocean’ during the 15th century is told through a short animated video in a modern open-style theatre. Vistors can then walk through the Souk Gallery, which recreates the sights and sounds of the ancient markets where mariners like Zheng He traded at, as they stopped at various ports of call along the silk route.
Behind the Bao Chuan is the Jewel of Muscat, a replica of a 9thcentury Arab dhow that was a gift from the Sultanate of Oman to the Government and People of the Republic of Singapore. The Jewel of Muscat will be housed permanently at MEMA, where visitors can learn about its construction and historic voyage from Oman to Singapore.
A unique attraction within the museum is the Typhoon Theatre, a 150-seat 360-degree multimedia theatre, where visitors "board" an Arabia-bound sailing ship and are taken on a voyage that takes on a perilous turn when it encounters a storm. The museum will also feature an aquarium which will open at a later date.
Admission to the museum is priced affordably to reach out to as many segments of the community as possible. For bookings or more information, please visitwww.rwsentosa.com or call 6577 8888 for enquiries.
The museum is the first attraction in Resorts World Sentosa’s second phase to open. Two more hotels, a marine life park, and a destination spa will complete the second phase of RWS and are slated to open progressively from next year.
About Resorts World Sentosa
Resorts World Sentosa (RWS), Singapore’s first integrated resort is located on the resort island of Sentosa. Spanning 49 hectares, the resort has welcomed over 15 million visitors since it opened in Jaunary 2010. RWS is home to the region’s first-and-only Universal Studios theme park, a casino, luxurious accomodation in four unique hotels, the Resorts World Convention Center, celebrity chef restaurants as well as speciality retail outlets. The resort also offers entertainment ranging from its resident theatrical circus spectacular Voyage de la Vie, to public attractions such as the Crane Dance and the Lake of Dreams. Resorts World Sentosa is currently developing the second phase of the Resort. Upon completion, RWS will open the Maritime Experiential Museum & Aquarium, the Marine Life Park, a destination spa and two additional hotels. Resorts World Sentosa is wholly owned by Genting Singapore, a company of the Genting Group.
All images: Resorts World Sentosa elements and all related indicia TM & © 2009 Resorts World at Sentosa Pte. Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
From the top:
1. The Maritime Experiential Museum & Aquarium is housed in an iconic steel and glass ship hull at the RWS waterfront.
2. Upon entering the museum, be greeted by a life-size replica of the bow of General Admiral Zheng He’s Bao Chuan (treasure ship).
3. The Souk Gallery, where visitors can experience the sights and sounds of the ancient markets found at various ports of call along the Silk Route.