National Museum of Singapore’s Tango-enabled Architectural Tours: Visual Storytelling

Technology brings back the past

National Museum of Singapore’s Tango-enabled Architectural Tours

Step back in time with the help of cutting-edge technology from Google at National Museum of Singapore’s Tango-enabled Architectural Tours.

From 22 April 2017, the docent-led Architectural Tours around Singapore’s oldest museum will incorporate the use of Tango-enabled devices. These devices act as a portal into the building’s history, allowing visitors to view parts of the building as it used to be in the past.

Enhancing Stories About The Building

First opened in 1887 as the Raffles Library and Museum, stories about the National Museum of Singapore building abound.

In the course of its long history, an Indian Fin Whale skeleton was once suspended above the stairs at the Glass Passage, and stories constantly float around about the spiral staircase at the Museum’s Main Rotunda being haunted.

Since 2016, curious visitors have been able to join docent-led Architectural Tours which provide insights into these stories and the hidden history behind the Museum’s building. The addition of Tango-enabled smart devices to the tour will now complement the stories told and allow tour participants to better visualise the tales with the help of smart devices.

Using the Tango-enabled Device on the Architectural Tour

There are six points of interest on the building tour that make use of the Tango-enabled smart device.

3D Model of National Museum of Singapore's BuildingAt the Main Rotunda, tour participants can view a 3D model of the museum through the ages, stretching back to its original form in 1887.

Main Rotunda, National Museum of Singapore, Viewed back in time from a Tango-enabled DeviceUsing the smart device, they can also see the Rotunda as it used to be. They can view the artefacts that once stood under the Rotunda, including as a bust of Sir Stamford Raffles and a stuffed tiger in a display case. Minute details, such as the original floor tiles installed by the British, have been recreated within the virtual world.

AR view of Whale Skeleton at the National Museum of SingaporeOn floor above, visitors can view, in augmented reality, the 42-feet long skeleton that was hung at the Glass Passage until the 1970s. The whale exhibit was on loan from Malaysia and has since been returned.


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Using augmented reality, not only can visitors get a view of the whale skeleton from different angles as the move around the Glass Passage, but also watch it come to life, complete with whale song.

Other points of interest that make use of the Tango-enabled devices are the Spiral Staircase, a separate section of the Glass Passage, the Glass Atrium and the entrance to the Singapore History Gallery.

Joining the National Museum of Singapore’s Tango-enabled Architectural Tours

Visitors can join the docent-led, Tango-enabled Architectural Tours for free. Spaces are available on a first come, first served basis with a minimum requirement of five participants for each hour-long tour and a maximum of 15.

The tour is recommended for visitors aged 10 years and above. Guidance is required for children below 10.

Google’s Tango Technology in Museums

National Museum of Singapore is the second museum in Singapore to make use of Tango-enabled devices as part of the visitor experience. ArtScience Museum makes use of Tango-enabled smart devices for its Into the Wild experience where visitors use a device to role-play a forest ranger.

Ms Angelita Teo, Director of the National Museum of Singapore said, “This is just the beginning of what we are able to do with Tango and its virtual and augmented reality technology at the National Museum of Singapore. We will continue to build on this tour experience with more content, and also explore more ways to harness this technology for unique experiences for all visitors.”

Tango-enabled Architectural Tours of National Museum of Singapore

Upcoming dates for the Tango-enabled Architectural Tours include 22 April (3 pm & 5 pm), 29 April (2 pm), 6 May (3 pm & 5 pm) and 13 May (3 pm & 5 pm) 2017. The meeting point for the tours is at the left corner of the Rotunda, to the left of the Museum’s main entrance.

READ: ArtScience Museum’s Into the Wild – Virtual Forest, Real Change

READ: Building Highlights Tour at National Gallery Singapore

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