Wednesday, 4 December 2013

SBG Heritage Museum and CDL Green Gallery

The Botanic Gardens Heritage

Living in a Garden

After hearing that there was a new heritage museum that opened last Saturday in The Botanical Gardens, with an Eco centre next door, I have tried to get there all week. However the weather in Sing has been pretty miserable this week, we've been waking up to persistent rain and really quite cool. I can't believe that I'm from the UK and am actually complaining about the weather out here... Bonkers!!! Anyway I digress.... This morning I awoke to drizzle but it soon stopped and I escaped out of the house to Tiong Bahru for coffee with friends and to welcome a newbie (with a gorgeous 2 month baby boy... So tiny). After coffee at the ever popular and ever busy Tiong Bahru Bakery we showed H around this "hip n trendy" area and then I saw my chance to get up to the Gardens.

If you enter the Gardens via Cluny Gate it's a short 5 min walk towards the Botany Centre where you will then come to Holttum Hall which now houses the Heritage museum. Holttum Hall was once an office and laboratory for the botanist Eric Holttum who, according to the information boards, was the Assistant Director of the Botanical Gardens from 1922-25 before becoming the Director from 1925-49. He later became the first Professor of Botany at the University of Malaya from 1949-54.  Holttum Hall is a small building, as you enter the ground floor there is a voice over explaining the history of the Gardens along with information boards and pictures explaining the same.

Some Key dates in the Gardens history

1859 - Land purchased for Gardens
1866 - Swan Lake excavated
1874 - Land management handed over to government to pay off loan
1875 - Zoo opened
1891 - Cluny Lake excavated
1904-5 - Zoo closed
1929 - Sundial Garden built

Upstairs there is more history on the conservation of plants. Eric Holttum devised the breeding program for orchids which is still used today. The exhibit is quite small but informative. 

Across from the Heritage museum there is a new eco-friendly building housing the CDL Green Gallery. The idea is that it will exhibit botanical and ecological exhibits every 6-9 months alongside the Heritage museum. The first exhibit is the greening of Singapore over the past 50 years. As you enter there is a short film showing and explaining how Singapore is keen to keep the city green amongst all the constant new building work. Again a small exhibit but it highlights the parks and park connectors. The powers that be are keen to stress the importance of green spaces indeed, there are many tree lined roads here in Singapore and new buildings with gardens atop or hanging from walls are now a common sight, however I just hope that they also keep the natural green spaces and what's left of the rainforest. The eco building has solar panels on the roof and hemp is used to clad the outside.

All in all the museum and gallery were informative if rather small. I would say if you are visiting the Gardens it's certainly worth visiting but I wouldn't set out to make a trip solely to see them.

Both are free admission
Opening hours:
Up to Dec 15 Mon - Fri 09:00-18:00
                      Sat- - Sun 09:00-20:00
From Dec 16 Mon - Sun 09:00-18:00

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