On 17 February 2011, a ceremony to mark the Grand Opening of Marina Bay Sands, at the auspicious hour of 3.18pm, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was presented the golden key to “unlock” Singapore’s newer cultural landmark — the world’s first ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands. The Museum was officially unveiled by Mr Sheldon Adelson, visionary Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Las Vegas Sands Corp who called the lotus flowers “The Welcoming Hand of Singapore.” As the world’s first ArtScience Museum, Singapore has the unique position of becoming the epicenter for the growing ArtScience knowledge base and the test bed for new and innovative ideas. According to Morshe Safdie, Marina Bay Sands’ design architect, every element in the design of the ArtScience Museum reinforces the institution’s philosophy of creating a bridge between the arts and sciences. The building combines the aesthetic and functional, the visual and the technological, and the forward looking spirit of Singapore.
MORE IMAGES FROM MY ARTSCIENCE MUSEUM TOUR
With its unique lotus-inspired design, the museum showcases impressive blockbuster exhibitions from around the world. Photo courtesy of Marina Bay Sands.
The Museum’s design features both breathtaking form and environmentally-friendly function. Its dish-like roof channels rainwater through the central atrium of the building (see photo below), creating a 35-meter water drop into a small, reflecting pool. The rainwater is then recycled for use in the building’s restrooms. Materials such as Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymer (GFRP), typically used in high-performance racing yachts, which has never been used in a project in Singapore, was used for the construction of this architectural wonder.
A view of the ArtScience Museum from the Sands SkyPark at sunset. Note the dish-like roof that channels rainwater through the central atrium of the building, creating a 35-meter water drop into small pool.
The iconic ArtScience Museum will host blockbuster international exhibits as well as permanent exhibits on three floors of gallery space across 6,000 square meters.
The ArtScience Museum not only creates a bridge between the arts and sciences but 'The Welcoming Hand of Singapore' also provides shade where visitors young and old love to hang out.
Traveling The Silk Road Exhibition Guide and my complimentary ticket to the Museum, a nice addition to my growing collection of travel memorabilia.
The Gallery — photo courtesy of Marina Bay Sands
The Main Gallery Lobby — photo courtesy of Marina Bay Sands
Camel caravan. Come face-to-face with three life-size camel models decked out in full caravan regalia and loaded with trade goods at the entrance to the exhibition. The camels and visitors are surrounded by a 120-foot-long mural depicting a landscape of sand dunes.
The Interactive "Silk Road" map to discover the links among cultures, technology, and geography along the Silk Road with an interactive electronic tabletop map in the Samarkand section of the exhibition.
Step 1,000 years back in time to experience the sights, sounds and stories of the greatest trading route in history. The interfactive Silk Road map is a popular stopover for curious visitors. By pressing different buttons new information is projected across the map, revealing surprising connections.
Our guide, Toon Hee, stands next to a 41-foot long portion of a full-sized model of a 71-foot long Arab sailing ship, called a dhow, split in half to reveal a cargo of ceramics and elaborate metalwork.
A dhow (Arabic,داو) is a traditional Arab sailing vessel with one or more lateen sails. It is primarily used to carry heavy items, like fruit, along the coasts of the Arabian Peninsula, Pakistan, India and East Africa. Larger dhows have crews of approximately thirty people, while smaller dhows typically have crews of around twelve. Dhows are much larger than feluccas, another type of Arab boat usually used in fresh water in Egypt, Sudan and Iraq. — Wikipedia
A closeup shot of the ceramic cargo
The Genghis Khan exhibition takes visitors on a journey back to the 13th century Mongolia. Experience stunning re-creations of Mongolia’s grasslands and battlegrounds, and walk among the archaeological artifacts and weaponry of the Mongol Empire. The 1,500-square meter exhibition tells the story of the legendary conqueror whose innovation, technological mastery and cultural creativity gave him the reputation of one of the world’s greatest yet most misunderstood leaders.
Visitors to ArtScience Museum enjoy the largest collection of Genghis Khan artifacts ever assembled with over 200 rare authentic treasures from the conqueror's reign. This is the first time this extensive exhibition is shown in Asia and currently the ArtScience museum is its only Asia venue planned.
Visitors listen to a various instruments, including the morin khuur, or horse-head fiddle being played as part of the live, traditional Mongolian performance art featured in the exhibition.
Diplomatic Passport of the Mongol Empire. Genghis Khan's government issues passports, called paizi, as portable symbols of authority over his vast empire. These medallion guaranteed safe passage for diplomats and state messengers throughout the empire and signified official status.
View a royal mummy of an unusually tall female who died in the 11th or 12th century and her coffin. Unlike the embalmed mummies in ancient Egypt, this body was preserved naturally. Two silk and one leather robe were found with the body. In the mummy's case are a variety of materials found in her tomb, including a hat and jewelry.
Young visitors look at painted Changsha bowls from the ship. These bowls feature the head of Central or West Asian man while the brown patches were applied by dipping in the glaze.
The Museum's education team is also actively reaching out to schools in Singapore to develop tailored educational programs for youth.
This Gold Cup is the most important Tang gold object ever found outside China. It is unusually large (and heavy) and the cost of its material alone would have equaled ten year's salary for a low-ranking Chinese official. The musicians and dancer on the cup are identifiable as foreigners by their long hair and billowing clothes, and the ring handle with its bearded faces also suggests the influence of Central Asian metalware.
A total of 10 "fingers" that make up the building form plus two bay windows with special views of Singapore and Marina Bay Sands. The interiors of the "fingers" are unique gallery spaces with natural lighting from the fingertips illuminating the sculptural interior wall forms.
After-hours view of the illuminated Lotus-inspired ArtScience Museum.