Friday, 5 July 2013

Diary of an NUS Museum Intern: Christabelle Ong

Note: Diary of an NUS Museum Intern is a series of blog posts written by our interns about their experiences during the course of their internships. Besides working hard and fast in their cubicles, our interns have travelled to Bandung and Malacca, organised symposiums, waded through tons of historical research and pitched in during exhibition installations. If you would like to become our next intern, visit our internship page for more information!

For the summer of 2013, we have a total of 9 interns at the museum! Each intern will be taking it in turns to contribute an article to the Museum Blog every other week. For daily (or even hourly!) sneak peeks at what they are doing, visit the Museum's Twitter account (@nusmuseum). 


Christabelle Ong is a first-year History major at the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Science. Christabelle is an Outreach intern at the NUS Baba House and contributes towards outreach and guest relations.

When I first visited the NUS Baba House for a school assignment, the house and the Straits Chinese culture intrigued me. In the past, younger Peranakans were heavily influenced by what they viewed as contemporary and modern; hence, European-styled furniture such as the chrome-plated brass bed frame is a common sight in the homes of the young Perankan couples.

I was given the opportunity to intern at the NUS Baba House, and the best part of it came when I was entrusted with the duty of conducting tours for the house. This fueled my passion for the Peranakan culture and it spurred me on to understand and learn more about the Peranakan culture.

I conducted my first buddy tour about two weeks back and it was a nerve-wrecking experience. Nevertheless, I had a great time interacting with the guests and addressing their questions.

Another aspect of my job as an intern is to assist in the running of outreach events. In June, NUS Museum organized children's workshops as part of  Children’s Season 2013. One of the events was a mosaic-making class and a class on Herbs & Spices. I had an enjoyable time interacting with the families that participated and even I learnt a thing or two from the Herbs & Spices workshop – if you are experiencing a toothache and you have grounded clove spice at home, by placing the clove powder on the affected area, it will temporarily relieve the pain.

Another highlight of my internship is my involvement in the guidebook for the NUS Baba House under the guidance of my supervisor, Su Ling. The guidebook is still in progress and I have been researching on particular items in the house such as the Regency Convex Mirrors. This provided me with a detailed and alternative perspective of the house.

During the internship, I also attended a cleaning session of the Baba House and learnt how to handle and clean artifacts. It was certainly an eye-opening session for me. I learnt some useful tips on dealing with artifacts and it actually got me interested in curating. This has been a wonderful experience thus far and I believe I would continue in my journey as a docent at the Baba House after my internship ends. 

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