Kevin Y.L. Tan
Singapore: NUS Press, 2015
This is the story of Southeast Asia's natural history collections. Officially established in 1878, the previous Raffles Museum -- the oldest in the region -- has one of the largest collections of Southeast Asian animals.
With the opening of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum at the National University of Singapore in 2015, the original Raffles Museum was 'reincarnated' and the loop on its remarkable 127-year history has closed. Beneath the sleek exterior of the modern museum building lies a saga of titanic struggles and changes. That the collections survived at all -- through the multiple challenges of the nineteenth century, the disruption of World War Two, and its potential disintegration in the face of Singapore's modernization -- is nothing short of miraculous.
This book is not only an institutional history of the museum but also tells the story of the frustrations, commitment and courage of the numerous individuals who battled officialdom, innovated endlessly and overcame the odds to protect Singapore's natural history heritage.