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Field trip helps IFTM students understand how Singapore tackles visitor education and engagement at museums

中文摘要 / Summary in Chinese
A group of Cultural and Heritage Management undergraduates visited Singapore in March for a field trip. Students explored museums and heritage sites, and attended lectures, gaining insights into innovative approaches in managing exhibitions

A group of Year 4 students from the Cultural and Heritage Management Bachelor’s Degree programme at IFTM went on a five-day field trip to Singapore from 8 to 12 March. This educational excursion was part of the Museum Management course led by Prof. Ong Chin Ee and Dr. Vicky Chen Zhaoyu from IFTM’s School of Tourism Management.

The trip provided students with insights into museum management and heritage conservation at an international level, via visits to various Singapore museum exhibitions, heritage conservation centres, and sustainable urban planning projects.

The primary objective of the field trip to Singapore was to expose students to the visitor-learning and engagement strategies employed by museums in that city, i.e., moving beyond the more familiar context of Macao. Against Singapore’s backdrop of multiculturalism and sustainable development in museum and heritage management, the group received guidance from esteemed professionals including: Dr. Lim Wee Kiat, Associate Director of the Centre for Management Practice at Singapore Management University; Prof. Johannes Widodo, Director of the Graduate Programs in Architectural Conservation at the National University of Singapore; and Ms. Kathleen Lau, Senior Manager at the Heritage Conservation Centre.

During their visit, the students explored various museums and heritage sites, and attended a lecture on technology and museums delivered by Mr. Jervais Choo, the Deputy Director of Organisational Design and Innovation at Singapore’s National Heritage Board.

Through visits to locations such as Padang and the Civic District, the Asian Civilisations Museum, the National Gallery Singapore, the National Museum of Singapore, the Dawson-Queenstown heritage and sustainability walk, and the Heritage Conservation Centre, students were exposed to innovative and digitalised approaches in documenting, managing, and interpreting exhibitions and cultural innovations in Singapore’s museums and other cultural sites. They also gained insights into the management and conservation of museum exhibits, the sustainability and resilience of community heritage, and the integration of technology to enhance the museum tourism experience.

Led by Prof. Ong and Dr. Chen, the students delved into the past and present of Singapore’s urbanisation, heritage, and landscapes. They learned about the city’s heritage conservation methods, multicultural life, and even explored the historical significance of Singapore’s Changi Airport. This immersive experience provided students with a comprehensive understanding of Singapore’s unique approach to heritage conservation, the challenges facing heritage and urban landscapes, the city’s development history, and the lifestyle traditions of its people.

During the field trip, the students undertook a comprehensive survey and investigation into the current state of museum and heritage management in Singapore, as well as local heritage. This involved conducting desktop research, engaging in participatory observation, and holding in-depth discussions with local museum and heritage professionals.

Upon their return to Macao, the students shared their experiences in class, integrating the theoretical knowledge gained in the course with the practical insights acquired during their time in Singapore. In particular, they discussed case studies and innovative museum management approaches seen in that city.

The students noted that the field trip expanded their international perspectives, allowing them firsthand observation of the processes of displaying, curating, and interpreting museum artefacts in a setting outside Macao. They gained a thorough understanding of museum artefact management procedures and operational methods. Through creative thinking and critical discussions, the students applied the knowledge acquired during the Singapore field trip to propose enhancements for artefact curation, utilisation of digital technology, and enhancing visitor experiences at the Macao Museum.

IFTM’s Bachelor of Science programme in Cultural and Heritage Management focuses on studies about preservation, transmission, and innovation regarding cultural heritage. Through field trips, students not only gain valuable international practical experience but also contribute to cultural exchange and collaboration between Macao and other regions.

Content: Prof. Ong Chin Ee and Dr. Vicky Chen Zhaoyu, School of Tourism Management
Editor: IFTM Public Relations Team