The Peranakan Museum reopens after four years: Behind the scenes of its refreshed look

The Peranakan Museum reopens after four years: Behind the scenes of its refreshed look

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The Peranakan Museum, the world's first and only museum dedicated to Peranakan culture, has reopened its doors in Singapore after a four-year long hiatus.

The museum shut its doors for redevelopment in 2019, according to the National Heritage Board (NHB). NHB then worked closely with Anak, a global design practice, to rebuild the brand across all of the different physical and digital touchpoints to transform the space. 

Anak’s mission was to inject new life into Peranakan culture by creating a refreshed brand identity for the Peranakan Museum, said the practice in a statement. 

To create a forward-looking institution, Anak drew inspiration not just from their artefacts or patterns. Rather, the brand practice made the Peranakan attitude the centre of the new brand. Instead of merely celebrating what they created, Anak made the Peranakan attitude the center of the brand.

The core brand idea ‘Chelop’ - which means ‘to dip into’ in Peranakan Malay - is both an essence and an invitation, said Anak. It represents the act of throwing oneself head-first into another culture for the purpose of reinterpretation and that’s exactly what Anak did with the museum’s over 5000 artefacts, documents and verbal histories, diving deep to build a multimedia library of patterns and motifs, informed by the crafts and the creations of Peranakan culture. 

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Furthermore, Anak evolved the ‘P’ letterform of the original PERANAKAN MUSEUM wordmark into The Museum Peony. It serves as both a symbol of the community’s multiplicity, as well as a graphic identifier for all of its brand touchpoints. 

In a statement given to MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, a spokesperson at Anak said that the Peranakan Museum was overdue for a renovation and was closed to accomplish newly renovated interiors as well as new permanent galleries. Spread across three general themes - Origins, Home and Style, the nine museum galleries display over 800 newly acquired or donated artefacts, recorded interviews, and photographs of real Peranakan profiles, as well as two commissioned artworks by local artists Lavender Chang and Sam Lo.

Each gallery consists of contemporary artefacts alongside traditional ones, to point out that Peranakan culture is not only relevant but lived and experienced every day. Also, the revamped museum aims to expand the definition of what it means to be Peranakan and to re-conceive what that means as Singapore embraces more kinds of immigrants, said Anak. "A refreshed and contemporary brand identity was needed, to help audiences rethink what ‘Peranakan’ could be, drawing inspiration from both material culture and spirit," it said. 

Commenting on the brand refresh, Hanyi Lee, creative partner at Anak, said: “Peranakan culture—the lifeblood of Straits-born emigres—is vibrant, sardonic, beautiful, over-the-top and ever-changing. As we embarked on this journey, it was important to us that we did so in way that was authentic and resonant to the culture. Our job was to remove it from the past and bring it to life for a new generation of not-just-peranakans, but artists, craftsmen, and future collaborators, locally and globally. Just as the Peranakans themselves were inspired by east and west and everything in-between, we want their multicultural legacy to inspire a future more beautiful.”

The revamped museum is currently open to the public. 

Aside from cultural museums, MAC Cosmetics recently partnered up with the Museum of Ice Cream to showcase its new holiday collection from 3 to 6 November 2022. MAC has long been a leader in the makeup and cosmetics industry, which dovetails perfectly with Museum of Ice Cream, well known for its creative and Instagram worthy rooms. Both came together to celebrate its unique selling points in its respective industries.

In its collaboration, Museum of Ice Cream’s signature experiences was recast for MAC fans with themes such as Castle Holiday Room and Holiday Playground where MAC’s global holiday collection was featured. Additionally, the Museum of Ice Cream offered limited edition MAC Pack Tickets that enables the purchaser to receive exclusive offers such as MAC-inspired and flavored ice creams.

Content 360 is back on 10-11 May 2023 in Singapore. A hugely popular event over the years, Content 360 brings the most influential content creators to inspire you. Across two days, you can connect with 300+ brightest minds in the industry and learn how to overcome challenges to make your content stand out among the crowd. Tickets are on sale now, register today:

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MAC Cosmetics and Museum of Ice Cream create sweet new holiday experience
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