Speech by Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies Heng Swee Keat at the Opening of Children's Museum Singapore on 8 December 2022.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good evening. What a wonderful performance by our little ones!
With the official opening of Children’s Museum Singapore, we now have a dedicated museum for our young ones.
There have always been children’s programmes at our museums and heritage institutions, including the popular Children’s Season. But this is the first time that we have a museum entirely for children.
In fact, adults can only be admitted if they are accompanying a child! So, if I was not officiating this opening, I would be denied entry since I have no young children or grandchildren to tag along with.
At the opening of the Children’s Museum, let me share three hopes for this newborn child.
First, this Museum is not just a museum for our children, it should also be a museum by our children.
The Museum team spoke extensively to children as part of the setting up process. For example, the colour of its logo was chosen by these children. The exhibitions and programmes were also curated based on inputs from children on what they wanted to see and do.
Later, I also look forward to meeting our Little Ambassadors, children volunteers who will be providing us with a guided tour of the Museum. I hope to see our children, and future generations of children, own this Museum. So that the Museum will reflect their hopes and dreams.
Second, I hope the Museum sparks their curiosity and enhance their joy of learning.
Children can take a voyage back in time to olden Singapore, discover the wonders of nature, explore how our local communities celebrate birthdays and more.
The Children’s Museum can serve as a launchpad for our young visitors and their families to appreciate the joy of visiting museums. In fact, there are many other museums nearby, including the National Museum.
I hope our museums will nurture a sense of curiosity and wonder in our young, and stimulate them to explore and experiment through play. Learning should not be confined to textbooks or in schools – we can learn from anyone, anywhere, and anytime. And for adults like me, exploring the Museum will hopefully give us a dose of youthful inspiration.
My third hope of the Museum is that it will make Singapore an even better place for families. It is no coincidence that your chairperson Joni is also President of I Love Children. I have known Joni for many years – she and her husband are role model parents to five children!
Young couples are marrying later and having fewer children. Raising a child is not easy, but let us try to make it more conducive for them to do so.
We can all do our part, and one small way is to create more child-friendly places that parents can bring their young ones to. There are many playgrounds in our neighbourhoods and many child-friendly parks and beaches. These include the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden, which is the first garden in Asia dedicated to children, and the COMO Adventure Grove Playground in the Botanic Gardens.
The Children’s Museum will be another attractive destination that parents can bring their children to, especially during the ongoing year-end school holidays.
With each small effort adding up, we can be a Singapore made for families.
To realise these three hopes, the Museum must continue to innovate and remain creative in delivering fun and educational programmes for our children.
This means staying on top of new technology and innovation. The Museum’s planned use of AI to curate customised content and enhance the visiting experience for your young visitors is a good example.
I encourage you to continue working with partners such as ECDA and NIEC to co-create programmes that are fun and educational.
I hope you also continue to learn from and collaborate with museums in Singapore and children museums around the world to exchange ideas and to keep innovating.
While space within this historical century-old building might be limited, I encourage you to think creatively to make the best of the building and its surroundings, including outdoor learning spaces at Fort Canning Hill, which NParks is most supportive of.
To Wai Yin and her team, and to all of you working and volunteering at the Museum, I trust you will keep dreaming and keep experimenting.
Let me close by thanking the board, staff, partners, and supporters of Children’s Museum Singapore for working so hard to create this space for our children, and for generations of children to come.
I believe the Children’s Museum Singapore will make a difference to the lives and education of everyone who walks through its doors, and I am delighted that we are all here today to celebrate this milestone.
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