Monday, 13 January 2014

Diary of an NUS Museum Intern: Natalie Pek

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!

As part of our December 2013 cohort of interns, we welcomed two students, Natalie Pek and Alissa Mei Abuy from Jurong Junior College for a two-week attachment. Here's Natalie to share about her experience.


As an intern at the NUS museum, I was part of a passionate team. Every member of the team displayed excellent knowledge in the field of the Arts and propagated their burning passion to all visitors and likewise, myself. I was initially surprised at how captivating the Arts was and how the passion for the Arts was so contagious. 

The conservation workshop provided showed me how much work is needed before an artifact is released for public viewing; something I was nonchalant about before. I didn’t expect the process to be that complicated. Artifacts may come damaged in one way or another, requiring hours of planning and discussion on how and what to use to conserve the artifacts so as to keep it in good shape. Some artifacts may need to undergo checks in ultraviolet light or infrared light scanning. It is definitely not as easy as I thought it would be and this has helped me to appreciate museum exhibitions more!

I look back at my time at the NUS museum with gratitude as I was given the opportunity to attend the museum tours for exhibitions such as In Search of Raffles’ Light, Between Here And Nanyang, Come Cannibalise Us, Why Don't You? and the NUS Baba House. At the beginning, I found it hard to relate to the artworks and artifacts around me in the museum because there is no definite answer as to what the true meaning of the artwork or the artifact is. Throughout my academic journey till today, answers have always been what I was after but while working in the museum, I found myself in a place without answers but purely personal interpretation and understanding. Surprisingly, learning to embrace the uncertainty of the Arts has helped me learn better. It is self-discovery that has made learning for me fun and interesting which was what the experience in NUS Museum provided me with. It is the individual emotion that Art triggers and the mind provoking messages behind Art that made the entire experience captivating for me. I would definitely bring along with me these valuable lessons as I continue on with my academic journey. I wish for further similar opportunities in the future that would enrich my journey as a student. 

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