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President revisits museum collection after 25 years

01 April 2013

President Dr Tony Tan (centre, in black jacket) admiring some of the RMBR specimens before the museum packs up for its move to the new Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Photos: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings (left), Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research

The Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research (RMBR) at NUS received a very important visitor before it closed its doors end March in preparation for its move to the new Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum next year.

Singapore President and NUS Chancellor Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam, who launched a collection of 160,000 in 1988 that grew to more than 500,000 specimens now, toured the place before packing of the exhibits began. Dr Tan found it interesting how this important South-East Asian biodiversity collection has evolved, and is continuing to play a key scientific and national role. He added that the natural history museum will be valuable to the study of nature, besides adding to Singapore's group of diverse museums.

The past 25 years have seen the expansion of the reference collection for scientific research into a museum for public education, heritage and outreach programmes, said Museum Director Professor Peter Ng. The closure of RMBR marks the end of a cycle, with the new natural history museum promising the beginning of another home on a bigger scale, he said.

To date, S$56 million has been raised for the first purpose-built natural history museum, while another $10 million is being sought to address manpower and programme needs.