Unveiling the Heritage Working Group

Hello everyone!

Greetings from the Heritage Working Group (HWG). My name is Poonam, and my team is part of the Collections Management & Preservation Cluster, NUS Libraries. My team consists of two research assistants – Gladys and Diyanah. We do sometimes wonder if the bosses were thinking of the “CIMO” policy during the hiring process as the team consists of a Chinese, an Indian and a Malay. 😂😂 

The HWG team at The Arts House (left to right): Gladys, Poonam & Diyanah

On a more serious note, the HWG has been tasked to document the rich heritage and cultural landscape of NUS through exhibitions, educational and community programmes, care of art collections and so forth. It is quite ironic that all three of us have worked at the NUS Museum, either as a full-time staff or an intern. More than anything, it brings great comfort that all of us are from the same industry and speak the same language, LOVE for arts and heritage!

Two of the major projects that we are working on include conceptualising and developing a Computing Gallery and refreshing the display at the Hon Sui Sen Memorial Room. The former is a collaboration with the School of Computing while the latter is with the NUS Museum. The past few months have been interesting and challenging at the same time as none of us have any knowledge about Computing nor the ICT industry!

Snapshot of the prospectus highlighting the curriculum and facilities offered by the Department of Information Systems and Computer Sciences (DISCS).

Honestly speaking, the NUS Libraries rich collection has been a boon as we’ve discovered some very exciting material such as surveys conducted by the National Computer Board in 1982, prospectuses by the Department of Information Systems and Computer Sciences (DISCS), past exam papers and so forth.

Did you know that the Hon Sui Sen Memorial Room (HSSMR) is in the Hon Sui Sen Library, Business School? Currently undergoing renovations, the HSSMR will be ready sometime in mid-2023 and the narratives will focus on both biographical and thematic elements. Its objectives are to commemorate the man after which the Library is named and introduce the NUS community to the life and achievements of Mr. Hon Sui Sen, etc. The artefacts from the HHMR are currently stored in the Library and Helu Trans, an art logistics company.

We had an opportunity to comb through countless newspaper clippings collected by the late Minister Hon and his secretary over the years. For instance, during his 13¼ years as Finance Minister, the per capita GDP of the country more than doubled from $2462 in 1970 to $5752 in 1982. While the official reserves increased more than six times from $3.1 billion in 1970 to $18.9 billion in 1983. One song came to mind when I read these figures, “Money, Money, Money” by ABBA!!!

Paper files containing a myriad of archival material documenting Mr. Hon’s achievements

Newspaper clippings from the early 1970s focusing on the budget, inflation and taxes

 

In addition to the above, the HWG team also works closely with our colleagues from the Collections Management & Preservation Cluster to streamline operations for the care and utilisation of artworks, develop, and build heritage collections for the two upcoming exhibitions, and so forth. Safe to say all our previous work experiences are coming in handy! It’s been 5+ months since we started working at the NUS Libraries, and it has been quite a journey.

Must say that it keeps us on our toes and there’s never a dull day. In all of this, our colleagues have been a tremendous source of support guiding us through the various policies, administrative matters and last but not least lending us a listening ear. I could go on, but think is wiser to end here as I’ve got no intention of putting my readers to sleep! We will be back soon with more insight to our world. Till then, please like and support #NUSheritage!

 

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