The Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) in Singapore has opened two new wings, which will house many new displays including contemporary art exhibits and a collection of 9th-century artefacts from a shipwreck.
The changes at the ACM are the first phase of major renovations at the museum and increase the space by more than 1,300 square-metres, reports the Straits Times.
The museum is home to the region’s most comprehensive collection of items from around Asia. The galleries explore history, culture and religion in Southeast Asia, China, Islamic West Asia and the Asian subcontinent.
The museum is located in the Empress Press Building, which was designed by a British architect named John Frederick Adolphus McNair. It was built with Indian convict labour in 1865 and its original use was for colonial government offices.
The new additions add a contemporary element to the colonial building.
The exhibits will now also be organized based on themes, instead of geographic regions, “to reflect the interconnectedness of cultures,” according to an ACM news release.
The new Khoo Teck Puat Gallery will feature the Tang Shipwreck Collection, which contains 9th-century artefacts from a shipwreck which was discovered in 1998. The ship was discovered in the Java Sea, and contained more than 60,000 ceramics made in China during the Tang dynasty, which lasted from 618 to 907. The ship also contained objects of gold and silver.
The museum now has its first contemporary art space. Along with the changes also comes a new app, which users can download and find more information about artefacts on their mobile phones.
The opening was celebrated with a 24-hour celebration, which included a barbecue and picnic under the stars.