According to the International Council of Museums, a museum is “is a non-profit, permanent institution in the service of society and its development, open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and its environment for the purposes of education, study and enjoyment” (click here).
The key points are that museums are: 1) non-profit; 2) institutions that have collections of objects that they display, study, conserve…etc.
So it is with great disappointment that I read that ‘Trickeye Museum’ will soon open on Sentosa. This is “an art gallery filled with 2D paintings that give the illusion of being three dimensional”. No, not that I am disappointed that another attraction is opening to cash in on S’pore’s tourist-onslaught, but that it has decided to call itself a ‘museum’. Using ICOM’s definition of a museum, ‘Trickeye Museum’ does not qualify because it is for profit, and that the objects are hardly the stuff of academic scrutiny. If ‘Trickeye Museum’ can call itself a museum, any shop that sells ‘stuff’ can too.
So I urge National Heritage Board to consider monitoring who in Singapore can (or cannot) be allowed to register a ‘business’ with the term ‘museum’ in it. This has already been done in other aspects of naming-conventions, as companies here are restricted in the use of ‘Singapore’ in their names (by Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority). Just like how there are now many ‘Ministry of Food’, Ministry of Sounds’ etc, the flagrant use of ‘museums’ for underserving businesses may dilute the integrity and dignity of bonafide museums.