Singapore’s long-awaited National Gallery is finally open. The S$532 million museum, which is essentially the former Supreme Court and City Hall restored to their former glory, houses a massive collection of Singapore and South-east Asia art.
In other words, it gets pretty daunting and you might be overwhelmed by the sheer size of the exhibition space. Hence, a guided tour is probably your best bet.
You don't even need to sign up for a tour because your smartphone is the tour guide, thanks to the Gallery Explorer app. For iOS users, download the app from Apple’s App Store first. Sorry, Android users, the app is on iOS only. For now, anyway.
While the app is pretty simple to use, we’ll do you a favour and navigate you through the features to prep you for the tour immediately.
Once you’ve launched the app, you’ll be greeted by the Home tab. Here, you’ll get a preview of the trending artwork within the National Gallery. Tapping an artwork thumbnail will bring you to the artwork page, complete with an audio transcript describing the essence of the masterpiece.
Alternatively, tapping the document icon will bring up the text transcript, useful when you don’t have an earpiece to plug in to your phone. And yes, do use one to minimise the disturbance to your fellow museum-goers.
Also listed here are the current exhibitions and events that are happening within the art space. The latter is perhaps the most useful feature here, updating you with the gist of what’s happening on specific days and the exact location.
The sheer size of the National Gallery, measuring 64,000 square metres, makes it pretty hard to navigate. But if you tap on the Nearby tab, it’ll recommend the artworks closest to your current location. It’s pretty useful if you’re a first-time visitor with no particular exhibition to visit.
The Nearby tab also houses a map of the National Gallery, which is accessed when you tap on the map icon at the top right corner. With the map, you can navigate easily to the locations of the various exhibitions and artworks within the National Gallery.
In fact, let the app guide you, just tap on a particular location, and once you see the navigation icon, tap on it, enter your current location and just follow the bread crumbs.