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Collecting Contemporary Singapore

The collection of the National Museum of Singapore has its origins in the 19th century with the establishment of the Raffles Library and Museum. Today, we have continued to build upon this collection to encompass a broader social history of Singapore, and major moments in the nation’s recent history– including milestones and events that affect everyday life in Singapore.

The National Museum is expanding our public engagement efforts to crowd source objects and related stories/photos from residents in Singapore, to broaden our contemporary collection. We will be focusing on different themes in the coming years to encourage Singaporeans to contribute to this project and reflect upon life in Singapore in recent times.

These contributions may reveal different perspectives of contemporary Singapore that will shape and inform the curation of the museum’s future exhibitions. Selected objects may also be featured in relevant exhibitions presented by the National Museum.

Collecting Contemporary Singapore: Documenting COVID-19 in Singapore

The 2020 theme for Collecting Contemporary Singapore has been focused on COVID-19. The COVID-19 pandemic is certain to be a defining period in Singapore’s history, and we would like to collect your stories and experiences of living in Singapore during this period.

It is important for us at the National Museum to document this critical juncture in Singapore’s history through the stories of people’s lived experiences, photos and objects. In addition to archiving relevant contributions, there may also be future avenues to present or display these stories and objects.
The National Museum thanks members of the public who have sent in your stories and contributions since the launch of our open call in end May 2020.

Here are some of the contributions we have received:

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Objects collected (clockwise, from top left):
Artwork on plate from Saybons, homemade face masks, ITE face shield, embroidery piece, batik face masks from YeoMama

As the pandemic still continues to evolve, we want to continue to capture your memories living in Singapore during this period.


What we would like to collect from you

In particular, we are calling for two main categories of object contributions and their accompanying stories from residents living in Singapore:

Face masks

The face mask is likely the most ubiquitous item of the present, central in our pursuit to keep others and ourselves safe. We have seen numerous creative interpretations of face masks that have been specially created or adapted – whether for added protection, social identity, supporting various causes or even just to make a cool fashion statement. We welcome the public’s contributions of their stories of unique face mask creations.

Innovative and creative responses to COVID-19

We have seen many innovative responses on objects that people have devised or adapted to help them or other communities face the unique circumstances and challenges of the pandemic, as well as beautiful and inspiring creative works that reflect people’s thoughts on the pandemic – ranging from sketches and paintings to craft objects in different forms. We invite the public to share their innovative creations with us.

Submission details

The National Museum welcomes the public to send in images of your hand-made masks, or innovative and creative works crafted in response to COVID-19, which best represent your experience and memory of living through the COVID-19 pandemic in Singapore. 

Click here to submit your entry!

Relevant contributions may be featured in future exhibitions presented by the museum. The curatorial team will get in touch at an appropriate time to follow up on suitable submissions.

For further queries, please contact the museum’s Curatorial team at
Please note that unsolicited donations sent through the mail or otherwise without prior correspondence with our curators will not be accepted.

Click here for FAQs and Terms & Conditions on Documenting COVID-19 in Singapore