Interspersed among the many fascinating stories about the history of natural history in Singapore, Prof Peter shared about why dinosaurs are a necessary part of our New Natural History Museum. Among them, the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research's direct experience with the 'magical effect' of dinosaurs when NUS, together with the Science Center of Singapore, hosted a dinosaur exhibition in 2006. It was hugely popular, and was the only event that actually made money. Read more about this 2006 exhibition in Siva's post.
Siva's love affair with the dinosaurs started much earlier and lasted much longer than mine, but still remains strong!
Here's an appeal letter from the RMBR about the dinosaurs.
Once more – the race is on.
A year ago, through your generosity and kindness, we raised the seemingly impossible sum of S$46 million to ensure that a new natural history museum for Singapore will be built. This has not only secured its priceless century-old collections but will offer a large gallery for public education.
One of the many iconic displays we want to place in this gallery is a model of the famous 1800s whale. However, we also realized that in the modern world, what would make a truly world-class gallery that excites a new generation of nature lovers would be the addition of a magnificent display of dinosaurs. Yet, real dinosaur fossils are extremely hard to come by, if at all. As destiny would have it, through a series of unexpected coincidences, the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research (RMBR) was given a unique chance in April 2011 to purchase genuine and near complete fossils of a family of three gigantic sauropod dinosaurs - among the largest animals ever to have walked the Earth! One is rare enough, but a group of three, which includes an even rarer teenage dinosaur, is unprecedented!
Contrary to what many people think, dinosaurs are not “alien” to Singapore’s history! When dinosaurs walked the Earth over 100 million years ago, Singapore was part of a mega continent that had such giants. The educational and research value of dinosaurs is that they greatly help us understand life on Earth. To document the history of life, we must know why dinosaurs were so successful and understand the circumstances that led to their demise. Dinosaurs will help Singaporeans understand the biodiversity, climate change and extinction challenges now facing mankind and the planet. Throughout the world, dinosaurs are renowned as "catalysts" to get people of all ages excited about biodiversity, natural history and science. Their educational value is, therefore, second to none.
This family of three dinosaurs will be the centre-piece of the new gallery, the “pièce de résistance” which places the new museum and Singapore on the world stage. The HEADLINE stories, which made the front pages of both the Sunday Times and Zaobao on 10 July and “Why we need dinos” on 17 July (attached), are testament to the excitement, interest and value of such an acquisition for the new museum.
We really hope you can help us bring these fascinating and majestic dinosaurs to Singapore. Please join us in donating to the Dinosaur Exhibit at http://rmbr.nus.edu.sg/dino/dino-online.html.
With thanks from the bottom of our hearts.
Leo, Peter, Swee Hee and Belinda
RMBR Fundraising Committee
Get updates on the new museum via the RMBR news blog.
I've briefly touched on other issues I found interesting in Prof Peter Ng's talk in this separate post.
More about the dinosaurs and the New Natural History Museum in these earlier posts