SINGAPORE – In these difficult times, it’s been a veritable Nightmare at the Museum in some parts of the world.
Two weeks ago, some museums in Rome were shut down during a one-day strike by employees who feared job cuts.
In Los Angeles, the spotlight is currently on the city’s Museum of Contemporary Art, which is in deep financial trouble.
Here, however, museums seem to be in the mood to party.
The National Heritage Board’s (NHB) annual Explore! Singapore, which ends on Sunday, has roped in celebrities like the Dim Sum Dollies and Mark Lee to spice up the campaign’s more than 80 events spread over 27 museums. It’s a great way to end a year of achievements that includes the opening of two new museums (Peranakan Museum and SAM 8Q) and the successful launch of the National Museum’s (hopefully) annual Night Festival.
But despite a laudable 2008, Singapore’s museums are anxiously bracing for next year. With the financial year running until end of March 2009, museum folk are adopting a wait-and-see attitude.
According to those TODAY spoke to, there has so far been no official news of corporate sponsors backing out of exhibitions. And none have been cancelled so far. While they expect a headcount freeze, no lay-offs are in the works (most have a lean ‘n’ mean staff anyway).
That said, there have been small signs.
Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) director Kenson Kwok, 58, cited how a certain generous donor had pledged S$30,000 this year. Last year, the same generous donor had donated S$50,000.
And while they’ve raised “enough money” for the museum’s next two major exhibitions, he foresees it will be difficult to get more for subsequent events.
Channel News Asia