growing up
Ongoing
Level 2,
Growing Up Gallery
Daily from 10am – 7pm
Last admission at 6.30pm
Free admission for Singaporeans, Permanent Residents and visitors aged 6 years and below
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.

 

growing up
 
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.

Caterpillar

Julia van Steen, 5 years old
Toy: Caterpillar

“My aunty Shirley got it for me when I was younger to help me learn my letters. My caterpillar always smiles and can dance. It has a lot of legs. It has letters all over its body. The body has many colours. It has a smiling red face. That’s why we call him ‘red-face’ caterpillar. It keeps me happy.”

Cement Mixer

Dylan Tee, 5 years old
Toy: Cement Mixer

“This is the first toy my grandpa gave to me and I love to watch how the cement mixer’s revolving drum revolves.”

Ben 10 Characters

Luca Demeglio, 6 years old
Toy: Ben 10 Characters

“It was a gift from my uncle on my birthday. I enjoy creating stories with the characters, because his changing alien powers are exciting and fun. It’s the first character from a television programme that I love.”

Rocket

Marie Nguyen, 7 years old
Toy: Rocket

“I like to explore space. It is dangerous, it’s special and there are so many things to explore! I can explore the galaxy, black holes and the solar system. It is the coolest job in the whole wide world! I want to be the first Astronaut child.”

windmill

Aditya Purwar, 7 years old
Toy: Windmill

"Because I made it"

Bear

Lara van Steen, 8 years old
Toy: Bear

“It is special to me because it makes me very happy and it is fluffy. When I feel scared in my room when it’s dark, I will cuddle it. It’s like my friend who is always there for me. I talk to him a lot, even though he doesn’t reply to me, I am sure that he understands me. I often bring him on holidays because that’s what friends are for.”

NYGH Doll

Annabelle Lim, 10 years old
Toy: NYGH doll

“She looks a lot like me. I got her from the Nanyang Girls High carnival. Like me, she loves nature and has big eyes. She also has a bob cut like me. I sleep with her every night. You can never find her anywhere else, because she is a hand sewn limited edition doll. She has the same name as me.”

Beyblade

Leow Koen, 10 years old
Toy: Beyblade

“This particular bey that I have is my most powerful Beyblade, and I always use it when battling other beys. The design and strength it has is why it is special to me.”

Toy Elephant


Rino Hossain, 11 years old
Toy: Toy Elephant

“When I was nine, my uncle came to visit Singapore and we went to Night Safari where he bought this elephant for me. I named it Ellie, and have slept with it every day ever since. It is very soft, cuddly and cute! I really, really, really love it and want to share it with the museum.”

Family Time

Visit our permanent galleries with your little ones and play spot-the-artefact! Our colourful Early Learning Resources introduce pre-schoolers to our artefacts according to the themes of Numbers, Colours, and ABCs. Available at $8 per set from the Museum Label shop. For more children's activity booklets, click here.

Museum guide

Download our museum guide (English, Chinese, Bahasa Melayu, Tamil) to find out about the many treasures in our various galleries. In this guide, you will also find the floor plan for easier navigation. Enjoy your visit!

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