The 1950s and 1960s was a tumultuous period of change for Singapore. From self-governance (1959) to its merger with Malaya (1963) and then to independence (1965), it was a time when Singapore was beset with uncertainties and challenges as it sought an identity it could call its own. Despite the political turbulence and social unrest, children growing up in those times were still able to enjoy happy childhood years.
This gallery offers insight on the experiences of growing up in Singapore during the 1950s and 1960s through familiar social spaces where children would have spent most of their time. In kampongs (Malay for “villages”), schools and popular entertainment values, children found friendships and experienced an emerging local identity. Through personal anecdotes and interactive installations, relive the gotong royong (Malay for “community”) spirit that laid the foundation of a multi-racial Singapore and girded its post-war generation as they forged their dreams and aspirations.
What’s Your Toy Story?
Toys have always been a part of the experience of growing up, both in the past and present. The National Museum recently invited children of today’s generation to contribute stories of their own treasured toys. How are today’s toys similar to or different from the toys that children played with in the past?
As the children's captions show, each toy has a special significance. Do you have a toy with an interesting story to tell as well? Just like these toys, every artefact has its own story. Through this campaign, we hope to inspire visitors to be curious about the story behind each artefact in the museum.
Featured on this page are some of the selected entries. You can also visit the Growing Up gallery to view some of these toys, which are on loan till 31 Jan 2020.
This campaign is held in relation to our Get Curious! Family Guide book, which is available at the Museum Label shop (level 1). Click here for more information on Get Curious! – The Official Interactive Family Guide to the National Museum of Singapore.