A natural history museum within the campus

Block S6 (along with Block S5) in the Faculty of Science is a relatively new building compared to the rest of its neighbours. Nestled at the end of Science Drive 2, it was built between 1984 to 1986 and the Science Library and Zoological Reference Collection moved in.

NUS inherited the zoological collections of the former Raffles Library and Museum in 1970 and finally found a home for the collections in this new building in 1986, which saw the collections housed in state of the art equipment. Although visited by and well known to international researchers, the collection functioned in relative anonymity and few students and staff were aware it existed.

In 1998, the new Dean of Science Lee Soo Ying, strode in and demanded why no one knew about the collections. Renamed the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, the museum embarked on an outreach programme, initiated active research and collections, organised visits behind its closed doors and opened a Public Gallery in 2001.

Increasing public interest over a decade culminated in a letter to the press for a decent-sized museum which children and the public could visit. This kicked a fund-raising campaign culminating in a multi-million dollar donations by private benefactors and the public which will see the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum open doors in 2014 with its own set of dinosaurs!

The university museum, designed primarily to serve the educational needs of the university population, will be accessible to the public who have been interacting with museum staff and volunteers from the university on a regular basis during nature walks, talks, workshops and museum visits.

You needn’t wait for 2014, the humble Public Gallery is a must see for its mixture of young old specimens from Singapore and Southeast Asia, some dating back to the 19th century and many still alive and well in Singapore today.

Just head to Block S6 and take the lift to the 3rd floor. A veritable treasure trove awaits you!


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