education

NUS OHS’ Night at the Museum – 27 & 28 May 2016

We had our very own “Night at the Museum” at the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) just a week ago! We at LKCNHM were proud to host this event on behalf of NUS’ Office of Housing Services (OHS). We would like to thank the staff at OHS and the families of Kent Vale Faculty Residences for their enthusiastic participation and we hope to continue to play host to these occasions in the future.

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A total of 77 children from the Kent Vale community and 8 OHS staff stayed overnight. Photo by Rajavarman Matchichandran.

The purpose of the event was to invoke a communitarian spirit and build a closer Kent Vale Community of all ages, especially with the aim of engaging the children of Kent Vale Faculty Staff ranging from the ages of 7 and 15. A total of 77 children accompanied by 8 OHS staff members from Kent Vale stayed overnight at the museum as part of this event.

Events at the museum that night kick-started with a guided tour followed by a Treasure Hunt and a Dinosaur Light Show to end the night with a bang! The family breakfast during the following morning was also a great opportunity for parents to get together and mingle.

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Kids hard at work during the Treasure Hunt!  Photo by Rajavarman Matchichandran.

Families expressed their gratitude for all the fun they experienced:

“I would like thank you and your team from OHS for the excellent job done. Our kids really enjoyed the event. Thank you for organising this unique event. I am aware that it is a lot of responsibility on you and your team who have worked tirelessly to make sure it is a success.” – Dr Satish, Dept. of Anatomy, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine

“My kids loved it and are asking what the next one will be!” Prof Kumaralingam, Faculty of Law.

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Smiles all around after breakfast and being back together again after a wonderful night at the museum! Photo by Rajavarman Matchichandran.

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OHS Staff group photo! Photo by Rajavarman Matchichandran.

We end this post with a quote from the Director of OHS, Mr Koh Yan Leng:

“As management of Kent Vale Residences, which accommodates our foreign faculty members and their families, we do not just wish to provide them with a place to stay, but a community that allows them to learn, bond and do great things together. As part of this vision, we organise monthly activities/events for our residents that cater to different family profile, singles, couples and family with kids. For the “Night at the Museum”, we are glad to partner with our esteemed LKCNHM to organise this great event for our residents’ children. The programme created by LKCNHM not only create much fun, but at the same time it is educational for them, which left many of them still talking about it after the event. As such, we deeply appreciate the effort put in by both the LKCNHM staff and our OHS colleagues to make this happen for the kids”.

We look forward to hosting future events such as these for our NUS community.

Mitsubishi Nature Documenting Workshop 2016

Mistubishi Nature Documenting Workshop 2016

Would you like to be inspired by nature? Or be a naturalist for a day? If so, join us for our Documenting Nature Workshop, fully sponsored by Mitsubishi Singapore!

This three hour workshop will begin with a gallery tour focused on Singapore’s biodiversity, pioneer naturalists in Singapore, as well as the vast array of techniques used by them to document nature.

During the hands-on portion, participants will have a chance to try out some of these techniques! These include activities such as writing in a nature journal, making a scientific drawing, and creating a ‘gyotaku’ print on a reusable bag, which can be brought home!

Date: 14 May 2016

Time: 10am-1pm

Minimum age: 9 years

To register for this fully sponsored programme, please email us at nhmlearning@nus.edu.sg with the full name of participants, their ages, and contact details. Limited spots available!

Registration closes 11 May 2016.

Sponsored by:

Mistubishi Logo

Results of ExxonMobil Endangered Species and Conservation Programme Documentary Making and Poster Design Competition 2016

The Exxon Mobil Endangered Species and Conservation Programme aims to increase public biodiversity and conservation awareness of Singapore and Southeast Asian biodiversity. Sponsored by Exxon Mobil, participants get to attend a customised workshop on Southeast Asian biodiversity conservation, and do their part in spreading conservation awareness.

Endangered species and conservation design

Secondary school participants are encouraged to take positive action and spread the conservation message by taking part in a documentary making competition. Last year, we showcased the first batch of winners for the documentary making competition. This year we will highlight documentary making competition winners for 2016.

These videos showcase the winners of the documentary making competition in the Secondary School category.

 

First place: River Valley High School, Group 9, featuring the Asian elephant. The team members are: Tan Li Qing, Lee Si Ning and Moo Jia Rong.

Second place: Dunman High School, Group 4, featuring the Bornean orangutan. The team members are: Amber Rose Pillay, Yap Tze Hiang, Poh Anna and Vidonia Tan Ting Yen.

Third place: Damai Secondary School, Group 8, featuring the Asian elephant. The team members are: Lim Jelene, Nicole Lee Wire, Phyllis Poh Lay Suan and Chelsea Teo.

We hope that these videos will encourage everyone to learn more about Southeast Asian conservation and its issues.

For more information about the Exxon Mobil Endangered Species and Conservation Programme for primary and secondary schools, contact nhmlearning@nus.edu.sg.

 

Results of ExxonMobil Endangered Species and Conservation Programme Poster Design Competition 2015–2016

The ExxonMobil Endangered Species and Conservation Programme aims to increase public biodiversity and conservation awareness of Singapore and Southeast Asian biodiversity. Sponsored by ExxonMobil, participants get to attend a customised workshop on Southeast Asian biodiversity conservation, and do their part in spreading conservation awareness.

Primary school participants share what they learnt to their peers via a poster making competition. We hereby congratulate the winners of the poster making competition for 2015 and 2016. Due to programme constraints, the poster making competition for 2015 and 2016 were held concurrently. The animals to be featured for 2015 and 2016 were given out randomly to participants to ensure fairness.

Here are the winners of the poster making competition in the Primary School category for 2015:

First place: Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus (Kellock), Group 4, featuring the Tiger. The team members are: Shanyce Goh, Kimberly-Jeon Goh, Tan Ing Jya and Ysabelle Wong Sze

Second Place: Clementi Primary School, Group 9, featuring the Sumatran Rhinoceros. The team members are: May Phyu Thwe, Kong Shi Ting, Zeth Tay Cao Hui, Chloe Lim En Jia.

Third Place:  Pei Chun Public School, Group 9, featuring the Tiger. The team members are: Kai Wong, Jenell Lee, Gabriel Lee and Su Zhixuan.

tigerposter

2015 First Place poster by CHIJ (Kellock) on the Tigers

 

The winners of the poster making competition in the Primary School category for 2016.

First Place: Geylang Methodist School (Primary), Group 7, featuring the Sumatran Rhinoceros. The team members are: Ng Yao Yi Marcus, Cassia Tay Kaixin, Wong Ke Ying and Heng Zheng Yu Thomas.

Second Place: Clementi Primary School, Group 3, featuring the Singapore Freshwater Crab. The team members are: Sharma Simran, Xu Rulin and Ethan Lee Yee Chien.

Third Place: Pei Chun Public School, Group 2, featuring the Singapore Freshwater Crab. The team members are: Renne Goh Xin Ru, Yeo Le Xuan Desiree, Leow Xin Yi and Shirlyn Woo She Leng

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2016 First Place poster by Geylang Methodist (Primary) on the Sumatran rhinoceros.

We hope that these posters will encourage everyone to learn more about Southeast Asian conservation and its issues.

For more information about the Exxon Mobil Endangered Species and Conservation Programme for primary and secondary schools, contact nhmlearning@nus.edu.sg.

Results of ExxonMobil Endangered Biodiversity and Conservation Programme Documentary Making Competition

The ExxonMobil Endangered Biodiversity and Conservation Programme aims to increase public biodiversity and conservation awareness of Singapore and Southeast Asian biodiversity. Sponsored by ExxonMobil, participants get to attend a customised workshop on Southeast Asian biodiversity conservation, and do their part in spreading conservation awareness.

Endangered species and conservation design

Secondary school participants are encouraged to take positive action and spread the conservation message by taking part in a documentary making competition.

These videos showcase the winners of the documentary making competition in the Secondary School category.

First place: Greenview Secondary School, Group 4, featuring the Sumatran rhinoceros. The team members are: Lim Zhi Xin, Lookhanumanjao Chatchaya, Wayne Song Wan You and Li Wanjun Alyssa.

 

Second place: NUS High School of Mathematics and Science, Group 8, featuring the Sunda pangolin. The team members are: Soundarajan Keerthana, Zen Hoi and Jin XunZe.

 

Third place: Evergreen Secondary School, Group 5, featuring the Sunda pangolin. The team members are: Chua Jia Hao Collister, Lee Guo Rui, Lawrence Caisip and Tan Wei Xiang.

 

We hope that these videos will encourage everyone to learn more about Southeast Asian conservation and associated issues.

For more information about the ExxonMobil Endangered Biodiversity and Conservation Programme for primary and secondary schools, contact nhmlearning@nus.edu.sg.

ST: How to educate your children

A trip to the history museum opens new vistas for kids but is it all a little too much?

by Clara Chow

ST Illustration by Adam Lee

Wake up on a Sunday, convinced you have to do something educational with your children. Trawl websites for ideas.

Decide to go to Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum. Buy tickets online and print them out while still wearing your pyjamas.

Drag children, groaning, out of the house. Drive to the museum. Find it because it looks like a giant lump of moss-covered clay. Beat a beat-up Mazda to a prime parking space. Whole family cheers.

Hang out at the eco-roof garden until your allotted time of entry. Wrestle with the museum’s official app. Point out mangrove plants in the garden, the spores on the underside of fern leaves and fish fry in the ponds. Natter on.

Look up, and realise that the kids are squinting at their father’s iPhone screen in the bright sunlight. Throw a fit.

Go back downstairs; go through the turnstiles. Feel a slight sense of urgency: Everything must be examined in less than two hours, before your time is up.

Battle other parents to lift the almost-six-year-old up to the eye pieces of microscopes to look at bacteria. Keep opening your mouth to pontificate about fungi and molluscs. Keep stopping in mid-sentence, when you realise your kids have run off. Look sheepishly at strangers.

Give up and, alone, examine the bank of creatures preserved in jars along a back-lit wall. Marvel at sea whips, daisy sponges, fat-armed jellyfish and a Reeve’s turtle – long dead, and suspended in chemicals and time. Gawk and shudder a little at worm specimens.

Flit back and forth between display case and wall captions – a busy bee soaking up facts. You are taller than most of the kids crowding around but you feel eight again. You remember the excitement of school excursions, the thrill of looking at something other than textbooks.

Try and ignore the fact that your two sons are having pretend lightsabre fights and running in circles somewhere in the biodiversity gallery, their footsteps echoing. Pretend not to know them.

Go for micro over macro. Remain strangely unimpressed by the expensive dinosaur bones rising like cranes up to the ceiling in the centre of the room.

Systematically catalogue every tiny cowrie shell and beetle with your eyes. Imagine you are a camera. Thai zebra tarantula. Click. Crucifix swimming crab. Click. Carpenter bee. Click.

File away facts to use, either casually in conversation or in some literary short story you will one day write: Jewel beetles (Chrysochroa toulgoeti) are shiny and metallic-looking, not because of pigmentation but because of the way their exoskeletons reflect light.

One of your children comes to you and begs to go home.

Too late, you remember that he has a deep phobia of snakes, and an aversion to other reptiles and insects. This effectively rules out more than two-thirds of the exhibits at the museum.

You tell him you will steer him to the mammal section.

Tell him it is safe there. You put your hands over his eyes, and your husband takes one of his hands, his younger brother the other and, together, the entire family – like some strange new eight-legged and six-eyed insect – crawl slowly, excruciatingly, across the atrium, under the mirthless gaze of the dinosaurs.

Along the way, you try to get your children to stroke a panel of possum fur because it is soft like a dream. The elder son screams because he spots a scrap of bleached snake skin right next to the fur.

You realise that sand dollars are actual living things – not lost money on the beach, which is what you always pictured them as being when reading about them in books.

The clash between old ways and philosophies, and new identities and nationalities, intensifies after you climb the stairs to the Heritage Gallery. Singapore founder Sir Stamford Raffles’ stuffed birds and monkeys sit quietly, a few cabinets down from a drawer containing a Singapore $1 bill featuring a photo of a black-naped tern taken by Datuk Loke Wan Tho, who built up Cathay Organisation.

The children press buttons in the sound booth. They have exhausted the possibilities of the dinosaur app.

Standing in front of showcases, you wonder about the Victorian obsession for pigeonholing dead creatures into curio cases that

the museum’s collection sprung from. You laugh inwardly at the arrogance of men, colonial masters, trying to fix their world, insisting on stasis, even as

Nature refuses to be pinned down. You see the error of your ways, trying to herd your children’s imagination through life, so they learn the way you do.

Meditating in front of the jars of pickled snakes, you overhear one young man telling a few others that the python coiled up over there has two penises, and one of them is showing.

“Why?” you blurt out, before you can stop yourself.

“Why what?” he asks, startled.

“What is the second one for?” you ask.

“I don’t really know,” he replies.

Months later, you will still be wondering about this. You will look it up on the Internet and find an explanation: Female snakes are able to control which male snake they mate with will fertilise their eggs, so having two penises helps the male increase their sperm count, maximising their chances of reproduction. You will realise you need to wait for the younger son to grow up before you have someone to tell it to.

But in the museum, you nod at the young men, who scurry away from you, embarrassed.

What you must do next is this: Gather your children. Tell them it’s time to go home. Stop by the gift shop if necessary, and buy yourself a piece of petrified wood.

Drive away, and cheer again as a family when you realise that parking is free. Promise yourself to do this again.

That some of it will sink in.

Some day.

Copyrighted to Singapore Press Holdings Limited – Straits Times 27 July 2015

Volunteer with us: Be a LKCNHM Gallery guide!

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Are you:

  1. a believer of lifelong learning?
  2. interested in sharing your knowledge of natural history and heritage with museum visitors from all walks of life?

Be a part of LKCNHM’s volunteer gallery guide family

The LKCNHM Gallery Guiding Programme aims to support the gallery and Museum by training guides to provide an enhanced visitor experience for our large and diverse audience. We hope this will inspire a life-long commitment and understanding to the natural world.

Details

Role: Gallery guide at Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Purpose and responsibilities: To enhance visitor experience by interacting with the public and giving them more information about the various exhibits and the biodiversity and heritage galleries

Commitment: At least a year

Day/time: Any day except Mondays, for four hours per session

Frequency: At least once a month

Skills and qualification: No particular skills, experience or qualifications needed!  However, essential criteria are:

  1. keen interest in natural history and heritage,
  2. willingness to make a commitment,
  3. enjoy sharing information with, and enthusing people.

Training: In-house training will be provided over the course of a month (approximately 15 hours). This includes orientation and introduction to the museum, gallery familiarisation, effective guiding techniques (communications skills and questioning strategies), interacting with visitors, zone specialisation, learning from objects, script development, health and safety and gallery procedures.

The training schedule can be viewed here.

Interviews: Interviews will be conducted on the second week of August. We will be in touch as soon as we can to schedule it.

Are you ready? Register now!

Nature Exploration Programme with Korea International School

Earlier last month, the Outreach and Education Unit of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum hosted a group of 20 students and 4 teachers from Korea International School for a one-day nature education programme.

During the first half of the day, the students participated in our Marine Ecology workshop where they learnt about the marine environment, its inhabitants, as well as the challenges they face. In the second half of the day, the participants followed our nature guides out for a three hour biodiversity and heritage exploration of Pulau Ubin, where they had the chance to experience what Singapore would have looked like in her earlier days. Man-y were charmed by the rustic, scenic beauty of Pulau Ubin, and were amazed that mainland Singapore, with her towering skyscrapers could have once looked like that. Memorable sightings during this walk included the passion flower, Oriental pied hornbill, and a lovely large-tailed nightjar!

Despite being well-camouflaged against the leaf litter, the nightjar did not escape the notice of our observant participants! Photo by Loh Lih Woon.

Customary group shot at the end of the Sensory Trail. Photo by Loh Lih Woon.

At the end of the guided nature walk, the students put to use the knowledge they had learnt in the Marine Ecology workshop and took part in a coastal clean-up activity near the Jelutong campsite area. They managed to pick up 9.5 kg of trash at the end of a half-hour. Great job by all involved!

Even as we prepare for the museum’s opening, our programmes are still ongoing.  For customised programmes such as this, please contact us at nhmlearning@nus.edu.sg. Do also keep a lookout for public programmes on the museum blogwebsite and Facebook page!

Under the Sea! Holiday Workshop

On 18 March 2015, we held our very first Holiday Workshop in the brand new Learning Lab of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum! During this Under the Sea! workshop, participants learnt about the marine animals that are found in Singapore’s waters, including those that are featured in some of their favourite television shows.

"That's what a marine sponge looks like? Whooooaaaa..."  Photo by Tammy Lim.

“That’s what a marine sponge looks like? Whooooaaaa…”. Photo by Tammy Lim.

The reaction of participants after learning about the marine animal that inspired the legend of mermaids. Photo by Tammy Lim.

At the end of the hands-on session with over 20 specimens, participants had a chance to try out the Gyotaku method, traditionally used by Japanese fisherfolk to keep records of their catches while fishing. Using this technique, our participants made prints of a variety of animals including a scallop, seahorse, halfbeak and grouper!

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Participants learning about the techniques involved in capturing details of the animals on paper. Photo by Marcus Chua.

Taking turns to carefully paint the specimens to capture as much of the details as possible. Photo by Marcus Chua.

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The happy campers with their masterpieces! None were koi about having their photos taken. Photo by Marcus Chua.

All too soon, it was time to go, as the family members of the participants came by to pick them up. Some of our participants took this opportunity to share with their families the information that they had learnt during the workshop.

Adults getting schooled! Photo by Marcus Chua.

Adults getting schooled! Photo by Marcus Chua.

We are shore these participants had a whale of a time! Even as we prepare for the museum’s opening, our programmes are still ongoing. Do keep a lookout for public programmes on the museum blogwebsite and Facebook page! To find out more about our programmes, please contact us at nhmlearning@nus.edu.sg

NIHA at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

The outreach and education team of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum had the privileged of hosting a group of health leaders from various countries. The participants were in Singapore for the 2015 NUS Initiative to Improve Health in Asia (NIHA) Leadership Development Program.

Biodiversity and ecology play an important role not only in the natural sciences but also in health science. Our outreach and education team took this opportunity to showcase the wild side of Singapore to our foreign friends at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.

With health science being the theme of this specially customised guided walk, we covered topics such as zoonoses, the potential role of migratory birds and other animals in the transmission of diseases, medical properties found in our plants, as well as the role of nature in promoting one’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

Even the intermittent showers did not dampen our spirits. Photo by Marcus Chua.

Even the intermittent showers did not dampen our spirits. Photo by Marcus Chua.

Here are our participants, healthier and happier, after the nature walk. Photo by Marcus Chua.

Here are our participants, healthier and happier, after the nature walk. Photo by Marcus Chua.

If you too would like to customise a special programme for your group, please contact us at nhmlearning@nus.edu.sg. You can also find out more about our outreach and education programmes on our website.