2 August 2018

A look at culture and heritage through the lens of technology

The National Museum of Singapore will launch DigiMuse Presents on 4 August, comprising digitally-led prototype projects that blend history, art and technology.

Co-created with digital designers and creative professionals in partnership with cultural institutions and technology companies, DigiMuse Presents enable visitors to offer new perspectives of culture and heritage via immersive virtual and augmented reality exhibits, dynamic conversations enabled by artificial intelligence, and more.

The newest edition to the wider DigiMuse programme, an initiative by the National Museum of Singapore to lead a vibrant cultural sector invested in digital innovation, DigiMuse Presents highlights seven prototype projects shortlisted from the inaugural DigiMuse Open Call for digital art and innovation concepts that concluded in April this year.

Director of the National Museum of Singapore Angelita Teo said, “We welcome thoughtful applications of technology that strengthen our visitors’ cognitive and emotional connections with Singapore’s history and heritage. Through creative integrations of culture and technology, along with collaborative industry partnerships, we hope to offer even more experiences that resonate with and inspire our visitors. We continue to be committed to growing the museum as a progressive cultural institution that challenges the boundaries of what is possible, driving innovation for the sector in our contributions to Singapore’s vibrant cultural landscape.”

As part of DigiMuse Presents, the museum is introducing the use of wearable mixed reality technology HoloLens for local museum experiences under Project Insight, where visitors can enjoy a unique look into the process of conserving artworks. 

In another first for the cultural scene, DigiMuse Presents will feature a new virtual reality experience, An Excavation Through Time, which allows visitors to “dig up” and uncover buried artefacts from Singapore’s Temasek period. The project by iMMERSiVELY will first be featured at the National Museum this month, with plans for it to be showcased at other local cultural institutions later. 

In addition to An Excavation Through Time, look out for:

- The app-based programme Multiplicity, developed by Singapore social startup Big Red Button, which enables visitors to discover different viewpoints from historical characters to form their own conclusions. 

Source: National Museum of Singapore. The Ask William project.
Source: National Museum of Singapore. The Ask William project.

- Artificial intelligence messenger platform Ask William, created by Internet of Things messaging company Unified Inbox, offers visitors informative nuggets about the William Farquhar Collection of Natural History Drawings from “William” himself. This project is also showcased at the exhibition Siapa Nama Kamu? Art in Singapore Since the 19th Century at National Gallery Singapore.

- Beeing Human by design label BaĆ«lf Design re-imagines the museum’s collection of traditional cheongsam dresses and Peranakan accessories with digital 3D-printing technology. 

Source: National Museum of Singapore. A rickshaw game.
Source: National Museum of Singapore. A rickshaw game, part of the Museum Experiential Guide.

- The Museum Experiential Guide is a mobile-oriented augmented reality experience developed by Singapore multimedia production house Digimagic and Nanyang Technological University’s School of Art, Design and Media. The interactive exhibit at the Crown Colony section of the Singapore History Gallery will bring visitors back in time on a vivid journey charting Singapore’s development as a centre for trade in Southeast Asia. 

A Harbour of History by 360VR Asia invites visitors to search for historical figures hidden in a gigapixel map of modern-day Singapore, then find out more about their lives.

Project Insight by HelloHolo enables anyone to try their hand at being a conservator with the help of the Microsoft HoloLens. This experience focuses on the conservation process, and allows participants to try conserving a painting in mixed reality.

Source: National Museum of Singapore. Project Insight focuses on art conservation.
Source: National Museum of Singapore. Project Insight focuses on art conservation.

The Digital Conversations: Open Call 2018 talk organised as part of DigiMuse Presents will explore interventions in digital and cultural spaces. As a follow up dialogue to the featured prototype projects, local and international speakers will share their experience of developing projects with museums and cultural institutions during the talk. 

Programme Director of the DigiMuse Project, Jervais Choo said, “The DigiMuse initiative explores the intersection of technology and culture and opens a gateway for discovering our past to inspire future possibilities. By incorporating a spectrum of digital technologies to communicate our heritage and history in new perspectives, the innovative projects featured in DigiMuse Presents are both educational and enthralling, demonstrating potential instances of how we may interact meaningfully with Singapore’s rich culture and heritage enabled by frontier technologies.”

DigiMuse Presents is presented by the National Museum of Singapore, an institution of the National Heritage Board, in collaboration with the Asian Civilisations Museum, Autodesk, Da Vinci Kids, Heritage Conservation Centre, The Keris Collector, ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, the National Archives of Singapore, the National Gallery Singapore, and the National Parks Board.


DigiMuse Presents will be on view from 4 to 26 August 2018 at the National Museum between 10 am and 7 pm daily. 

Visitor access to the featured projects is free with general admission.