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History and Milestones

History and Milestone 1993


The Birth of NHB

On 1 August 1993, the National Heritage Board was formed with the merger of the National ArchivesNational Museum and Oral History Department.

History and Milestone 1994


1st NHB blockbuster exhibition

Alamkara 5000 years of India was staged by the Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) at the former National Museum venue, drawing a record 165,000 people. This was the highest visitorship for any exhibition held in a museum in Singapore.

History and Milestone 1995


World War II historic site markers installed

14 World War II markers were installed to indicate locations that were significant in the war years, and to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of the Pacific War.

History and Milestone 1996


Singapore Art Museum opens

Housed at the former St Joseph’s Institution, the Singapore Art Museum was opened on 20 January 1996. It advocates and presents the contemporary art practices of Singapore, Southeast Asia and Asia, situating them within the global context of art making today.

History and Milestone 1997


Asian Civilisations Museum’s first wing opens at Armenian Street

Official opening of Asian Civilisations Museum at Armenian Street, previously the old Tao Nan school, by then DPM Brigadier General (NS) Lee Hsien Loong.

History and Milestone 1998


National Archives of Singapore moves to its new home at Canning Rise

National Archives of Singapore celebrated its 30th anniversary with the official opening of its new premises at Fort Canning Rise. Its facilities include a mini-exhibition entrance foyer, five purpose-built environmentally-controlled repositories, a reference room and a multimedia kiosk.

History and Milestone 1999


Launch of Singapore’s first National Heritage Trail – Civic District Trail

The Civic District Trail launched on 29 August 1999 was the first national heritage trail in Singapore.

History and Milestone 2000


Heritage Conservation Centre opens

Opened on 15 September 2000, the Heritage Conservation Centre was the first of its kind in Southeast Asia. Today, it is home to Singapore’s national collection, and a leader in cultural materials conservation in this region.


Singapore participates in Venice Biennale for the first time

Singapore Art Museum organised Singapore’s first participation in Venice Biennale, probably the most important international exposition of contemporary visual art in the world.

History and Milestone 2002


Reflections at Bukit Chandu opens

Reflections at Bukit Chandu, a World War II interpretative centre focusing on the last battle of the Malay Regiment in Singapore, opened its doors on 15 February 2002.

History and Milestone 2003


Asian Civilisations Museum relocates to Empress Place

Official opening of the Asian Civilisations Museum at the newly restored Empress Place building on 1 March 2003. The museum covers 5,000 years of Asian history and culture from West Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia to East Asia.

History and Milestone 2004


Launch of Singapore HeritageFest

On 16 July 2004, the first Singapore HeritageFest was launched to raise awareness and appreciation of Singapore's rich heritage.

History and Milestone 2005


Renewing Sino-Singapore Bilateral Relations

Singapore signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the People’s Republic of China in November 2005 to renew bilateral cultural cooperation. The move paved the way for Asian Civilisations Museum’s collaboration with the Sichuan Cultural Relics Bureau on an exhibition of Chinese ancient bronzes from the famous Sanxingdui site, as well as for Singapore Art Museum’s partnership with the Guangzhou Art Museum, China Art Academy in Hangzhou and Shanghai Art Museum on a joint travelling exhibition on contemporary ink painting and calligraphy.

History and Milestone 2006


National Museum of Singapore re-opens

On 7 December 2006, the refurbished National Museum of Singapore was officially opened by His Excellency S R Nathan, President of the Republic of Singapore after three years of redevelopment. At 120 years old, it is Singapore's oldest museum with the youngest and most innovative soul, and redefines museum experiences through cutting-edge ways of presenting history.

History and Milestone 2007


The revamped National Museum of Singapore wins two significant awards

The National Museum of Singapore won the Best Re-invented Attraction Award 2007 from the Association of Singapore Attractions on 4 July 2007. In the same year, the museum’s Sejarah Singapura video installation in its Singapore History Gallery secured the Silver Award in the Multimedia Installation category at the annual MUSE Awards held in the United States.

History and Milestone 2008


Peranakan Museum opens

25 April 2008 marked the opening of the world’s first national Peranakan Museum. Housed in the old Tao Nan school on Armenian Street, this boutique museum focuses on the colourful history of the Peranakans in Singapore, and features one of the world's best collections of Peranakan culture.

History and Milestone 2009


Heritage Institutions join NHB

On 11 March 2009, the NHB signed a Memorandum of Understanding to manage the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, Malay Heritage Centre and Indian Heritage Centre.

History and Milestone 2010


The first Singapore exhibition to travel overseas – Baba Bling: The Peranakan Chinese of Singapore

This highlight event of the Singapore-France museum collaboration in 2010 saw approximately 500 iconic Peranakan artefacts from the Peranakan Museum travel to the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris. It was the first exhibition of such a scale presented in Europe by a Singapore museum and included complementary programming.

History and Milestone 2011


Singapore Biennale 2011: Open House

Singapore Art Museum organised the Singapore Biennale for the first time, which featured 161 works by 63 artists from over 30 countries in its third edition.

History and Milestone 2012


Re-opening of the Malay Heritage Centre

Developed with contributions from the community, the revamped Malay Heritage Centre re-opened on 1 September 2012, featuring new content, updated facilities, as well as never-seen-before artefacts complemented by the National Collection.

History and Milestone 2013


Launch of first community museum – Our Museum @ Taman Jurong

NHB partners residents in Taman Jurong to develop Singapore’s first community museum and foster an appreciation of the arts, heritage and culture.