The History Workroom is very proud to have curated the exhibition, Singapura: 700 Years. The exhibition is now on at the National Museum of Singapore (NMS) and will run till August 2015.

The past six months has been an exhilarating ride – conceptualising the whole show, working with the designers on the look and feel of the gallery, and trying to find a way to present Singapore’s history in a way that’s comprehensible but not overly simplistic.

The exhibition is divided into five main sections: Ancient Singapore, Colonial Singapore, Syonan-To, Road to Merdeka, and First Decade of Independence. Each section features a good mix of classic exhibition display, hands-on interactives such as flipboards and touch screens, and also rare footages – such as that of Singapore in 1938.

We had some crazy ideas – we wanted to bring Fort Canning (aka Bukit Larangan, Government Hill), Longyamen, sailing boats, and colonial buildings into the gallery. We wanted visitors to feel the tension of being part of a group confronted by police, and also to have a chance to cast their votes in the 1962 Referendum. Oh, and we wanted HDB flats in the exhibition too.

Our designers almost died at the suggestions. But after much creative wrangling, we are happy to report that visitors will get to see and experience these in the exhibition.

As always, the final few weeks are always the hardest – it’s when everything finally comes together (or not) and everyone involved is working in overdrive and having sleepless/nightmare-filled nights.

The stress and tensions aside, it’s been a great experience for both of us at The History Workroom. This is especially since both of us used to work at the then Singapore History Museum (before the NMS was renamed). So, this project is a homecoming of sorts for both of us. It’s a nice feeling to be “home”.

This exhibition would not have been possible without the support of a hardworking team. Our heartfelt thanks must go to:

– NMS for placing the trust in us to curate the show and supporting our ideas;

– our fantastic designers at FARM – Willie, Kenneth, Suzanne, Audrey, Sarah, Lucille – for their creativity and for bringing to life our crazy ideas;

– AE Models for a fabulous build; and

– the exhibition team at NMS for providing all round support for logistics, lighting and sound works.

So, come down to NMS and see for yourself the fruit of our hard work!




Singapura: 700 Years – The making of an exhibition