Nanyang Polytechnic students’ designs take centre stage at newly-opened Children’s Museum Singapore

The three interns hope that the merchandise they have created can be used imaginatively by children.

Liam Willett

Aspiring cat dad.

Published: 5 January 2023, 3:01 PM

The first Children’s Museum Singapore (CMSG) may be dedicated to kids under 12 years old, but a group of Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) students has vested interests in it too. 

Formerly the Singapore Philatelic Museum, CMSG allows children to discover olden day Singapore as well as the wonders of nature through hands-on interactives, stories and everyday objects. 

It features four permanent galleries on the ground floor and three special galleries on the second level which will be refreshed regularly.

A Voyage Back In Time, the exhibit featuring the four permanent galleries, brings visitors to different time periods in Singapore’s history with elements including multimedia interactives and artefacts from the National Collection.

The journey continues at the second level, with three special galleries named Imagine A Garden, Play Pod and Happy Birthday!. These galleries explore the topics of various cultural birthday practices in Singapore, the values associated with familial love and gift-giving.


The Marketplace, one of four permanent galleries at the ground level of CMSG, is where children can get to learn more about heritage trades in Singapore. PHOTO CREDIT: CHILDREN’S MUSEUM SINGAPORE


Rene Tan, a Diploma in Mass Media Management graduate from NYP, worked with her teammates to conceptualise, script and film four instructional cooking videos for the Happy Birthday! exhibit. The videos showcased different cultural dishes commonly served at birthday celebrations.

Rene hopes the children will be able to appreciate the multi-racial recipes featured and have a deeper understanding of their cultural significance. 

“It can even serve as a good bonding activity for them at home,” she says, sharing that families can come together to try the recipes out.


She learnt the importance of time management as they had a short timeframe to film several scenes. PHOTO CREDIT: CHILDREN’S MUSEUM SINGAPORE


Despite challenges like long production hours and tight deadlines, Rene was thankful for the opportunity to work on this project, with her most memorable aspect of it being witnessing the finalised videos at CMSG with her lecturers.

“It was also heartening to see all the featured dishes being re-designed in the 3D version on the shelves. It left me nostalgic for the time when my teammates and I got to try the cooked dishes with the chefs,” she said.


The videos are now played on the flat screens located in the exhibit. When prompted, the screens will play the videos, and children will then need to find the same ingredients mentioned by the chefs within the booth and place them on the counters to complete their missions. PHOTO CREDIT: CHILDREN’S MUSEUM SINGAPORE


Apart from Rene, three NYP visual communications students – Muhammad Syahmi, 19, Nadzirah Imran, 21, and Nur Asyilah Sabrina Soenarto, 20 – who were interning at CMSG also got the opportunity to bring their ideas to life. 

In the months leading up to the opening of CMSG, they were tasked with designing most of the museum souvenirs and brochures – an experience that greatly differed from their time in school.

Having specialised in visual merchandising, most of their hands-on work were not events related.

“We were also a ‘COVID-19 batch’, so we didn’t really have many industry projects,” said Nadzirah.

While it was an undeniably challenging period for them, they shared that they had the opportunity to gain valuable industry experience and apply their design skills in a real-world setting.


Merchandise that the interns have created include the museum to-go-kits, hand puppet and sticker sheets. PHOTO CREDIT: CHILDREN’S MUSEUM SINGAPORE


In their day-to-day work, the interns are given briefs to complete before a certain deadline. Upon identifying the trends and drafting out the content, they then brainstorm ways they can expand on the topic to make it more interesting and appealing to children.

After doing rough sketches on their tablets to get the gist of the layout, they do their magic in Adobe Illustrator before the vetting process. 

The interns conducted most of their user testing with the help of the museum staff, where copy texts and illustrations were vetted by different colleagues. 

Parents and ​​children’s thoughts and opinions were also considered during the vetting process.

The three interns hope that the designs they have created, especially the merchandise, can be used imaginatively by children.

Syahmi said: “The children should be encouraged to be imaginative while also learning about the various educational topics in life.

“I feel like because we work together with the educational team in the museum, we want to make sure that all our content illustrations are there to help the children develop their critical thinking skills, imagination and literacy.”


The three interns hope to pursue careers in graphic design moving forward. PHOTO CREDIT: CHILDREN’S MUSEUM SINGAPORE


When asked about their takeaways, Sabrina shared that her biggest eye-opener was to embrace every moment though the process might be very stressful.

“When you see the actual merchandise come to life, you feel a sense of victory and satisfaction,” she said.

Adding on to this, Nadzirah shared that when they helped out with the opening of the museum, they had the chance to witness children engage with the merchandise.

“I thought (that) was the most heartwarming.”

CMSG is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 6pm, with admission to all galleries ending 30 minutes before closing time.

Admission to the galleries is free for all until Mar 31, 2023. Thereafter, visitors can make advanced online ticket reservations.

You may like these