Want to get artsy again this month? Well, the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) has you covered with a new line-up of promising programmes, including public archaeological activities and immersive tours. This comes in anticipation of the contemporary art museum’s 2018 editions of Imaginarium and Signature Art Prize, two exhibitions opening next month in May.

First in Singapore: Archaeological investigations open to public

While museum programming will continue throughout, SAM will be closing its two buildings in phases in preparation for a major revamp. Before the building works commence, join in a series of public archaeological investigations at the former SJI building as part of the Singapore Heritage Festival 2018, which runs throughout April. Catch archaeologists digging up survey pits at the front lawn of the museum, and learn more about the process behind the preservation and study of important National Monument sites in Singapore at free daily tours from 6 to 22 April.

Plus, aside from ensuring that no artefacts or evidence beneath the building are damaged, you might just discover more about the site’s history. After all, prior to the construction of the building in 1865, what we know now as the Singapore Art Museum used to be the site of the earliest Roman Catholic church on the island, and as part of the wider Bras Basah precinct, the British Empire’s largest convict prison settlement. Talk about a complicated past.

Theatrical tours based on stories from SJI old boys and SAM staff

In an exclusive rare opportunity to explore the 160-year-old monument one last time before it’s closed for renos, Singapore Art Museum is also presenting a series of magical theatrical tours conceptualised by artistic director Koh Hui Ling and playwright Chong Tze Chien. A bunch of actor-tour guides (taking on the personas of the people (and ghosts!) who once inhabited the building) will bring you through restricted areas of the museum while performing stories based on real stories shared by SJI old boys and older SAM staff.

When: 6 to 8, 12 to 15 April 2018, 7.30pm – 9pm and 9.30pm – 11pm

More details here.

Free specialist talks and meet-the-archaeologist sessions

Even if you’re not the biggest fan of archaeology, why pass on the chance to get up close and personal with real-life archaeologists? Happening at SAM Curve, feel free to approach archaeologists like Lim Chen Sian, the Associate Fellow at the Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre Archaeology Unit, ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, and ask them all the burning questions you’ve always wanted to learn about.

For example, did you know that Singapore has a past that stretches well into the 14th century in what is now called the Temasek Period? Join him and two other specialists – Dr Imran Tajudeen, Assistant Professor at the NUS Department of Architecture, and Dr John Kwok, local professional historian and former Assistant Director at the National Heritage Board – across three days as they present free talks on the recent past of Singapore’s Downtown district, Singapore Art Museum’s transformation plans, as well as a cross-disciplinary talk on archaeology and history in Singapore.

When: 7, 14, 21 April 2018, 10am – 12pm, 4pm – 5.30pm

More details here.

This post is sponsored by the Singapore Art Museum.