SINGAPORE: For their contributions to Singapore’s museums and heritage sector last year, 74 individuals and organisations were recognised at the National Heritage Board’s annual Patron of Heritage Awards event held on May 23.
A total of S$8.13 million — for both cash and in-kind donations — were given in 2016 by supporters, who received awards from Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu at a special ceremony at the Asian Civilisations Museum.
More than half of the donors — 42 out of 74 — last year were first-timers. They included the Global Indian International School who donated a cash gift to support the Indian Heritage Centre’s (IHC) inaugural special show Once Upon A Time In Little India.
Museums and heritage centres also received artefact donations.
The National University of Singapore Museum received a sizeable selection, including 19 works from Singaporean watercolour artist Harry Chin Chun Wah; two artworks by Malaysian artists Grace Selvanayagam and Mohammad Din Mohammad given by former Malaysian ambassador to Singapore N Parameswaran; and an artwork donated by Filipino artist Edgar Talusan Fernandez.
Both IHC and the Peranakan Museum also received artefact donations. Among those received by the latter was a 152-piece collection of jewellery and porcelain once owned by Singapore pioneer and merchant Tan Kim Seng.
Organisations also chipped in to support programmes and exhibitions last year such as Givaudan, an international flavour and fragrance company; they lent their technical expertise for exhibitions at the National Museum of Singapore and Singapore Heritage Festival.
In her speech, Ms Fu also cited how heritage partners have helped beyond donations, citing NHB's HeritageCares philanthropy initiative that reaches out to the less privileged through heritage programmes.
"(It) has taken off with the strong support from corporate donations and corporate and individual volunteers. To date, it has mobilised close to 1,000 volunteers and benefitted more than 3,400 persons in heritage-related programmes. This is a big step towards making our heritage institutions more inclusive, bringing about a more caring and inclusive society," she said.
“As part of our engagement for the Heritage Plan for Singapore, we have heard from many that their ideal museum should offer an immersive experience, carry multi-faceted narratives, and be a safe social space where individuals from all walks of life can gather and learn. The gifts from our patrons help us to do just that,” said NHB chief executive officer Chang Hwee Nee in a media release.
“The stories they tell, or help to tell, add layers and depth to the various narratives, and enable us to further the museum and heritage experience for our visitors.”
Plans for the Heritage Plan for Singapore, a comprehensive national blueprint for Singapore’s heritage sector that is set to roll out next year, was announced in March.