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Global university museums gather in Singapore

19 October 2012

UMAC Board and guests at the conference

Delegates on a tour of the Camping and Tramping through the Colonial Archive exhibition at NUS Museum

Delegates visiting the NUS Baba House, a heritage house managed by the NUS Museum

NUS Museum recently hosted the 12th Annual University Museums and Collections Conference, a first for Southeast Asia. Held from 10 to 12 October 2012, the meeting in Singapore was organised in partnership with the University Museums and Collections International Council (UMAC), which is affiliated to the International Council of Museums.

More than 100 delegates from 20 countries in Europe, Asia and South America gathered to engage and exchange views.

Gracing the conference opening as Guest-of-Honour was NUS President, Professor Tan Chorh Chuan. He noted: "Through their acts of preservation, research and curation, museums offer opportunities not only for transmitting the wisdom of the past, but also for transmuting that richness of knowledge into new and exciting applications. Indeed, as the world around us becomes more complex and interconnected, individuals and societies who recognise and value diversity and complexity will enjoy an intrinsic advantage in capitalising on opportunities and developments that result."

Keynote speaker Professor Apinan Poshyananda, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Culture of Thailand, shared his thoughts and experience in a presentation titled "Encountering Limits: Musing at Curious Time Warp". As an academic, contemporary art curator, and cultural diplomat, he offered valuable insights into the university museum landscape in Thailand and the workings of the museum world.

With the theme "Encountering Limits: The University Museum", conference participants presented topics relating to the practices, conceptual approaches and strategic positions adopted by university museums.

After the symposium, delegates joined heritage walking tours in places such as Telok Ayer, Little India, NUS Baba House and Fort Canning where they learned about the history, culture and interesting nuggets delivered by local guides.

The UMAC 2012 successfully brought together new and current delegates to share their thoughts and experience. The next UMAC meeting is scheduled to take place in Brazil in 2013.