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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.

The 2022 theme for this campaign will focus on technology. Technology plays an indispensable role in our daily lives, and has pivotally transformed the ways in which we live, work, play and socialise. We would like to invite you to contribute your memories and objects relating to the theme of technology, and how it has played an important role in your life. In addition to archiving relevant contributions, there may also be future avenues to display these stories and objects at the National Museum of Singapore.

Highlights from Documenting COVID-19 in Singapore

Embroidery Piece

 Alyssa Lim

"I decided to do an embroidery piece related to the pandemic as a form of catharsis. The six people I have embroidered are actually people who have been featured, in some way or another, in a news article regarding the pandemic. There's an unnamed supermarket employee restocking shelves (eggs, to be exact), Dr Ong Pei Yuin, who's a physician at NUH, a volunteer handing out free masks, an NSman involved in the packing of said masks, a family doctor, Minister Lawrence Wong when he gave an emotional speech in Parliament that saluted the healthcare workers on the front lines."

Stone Seal

Yew Tong Wei

"I am a physician in a public hospital. I am also an artist in Chinese calligraphy, seal carving and painting. To record this incident and reflection, and also as a promise to myself to smile more amidst this challenging time, I carved a stone seal entitled "A Smile Behind the Mask" depicting the Chinese character “笑” (smile) in seal script behind a surgical mask motif. I attach a photo of the seal with this submission."

Sketch Journal

Priscilla Ng

A sketch journal consists of sketches done in participation of Circuit.Sketch.Break Challenge. It recorded my daily life and routine during Circuit Breaker.

Staying Safe, Staying Sane Artworks

Teo Sek Eng

Creating artworks helps me to stay sane while staying safe at home during the circuit breaker (CB). This mini album is one of the artworks I had created. Use of poem, calligraphy, painting and seals (诗书画印) in an artwork are important part of the literati painting”, a genre in Chinese painting. As a “literati-wannabe”, I took the time and opportunity I have during CB to put my feelings for snails through these four forms of expressions.

Album of Seals

Tan Yong Jun

"I represent the Siaw-Tao Chinese Seal-Carving, Calligraphy and Painting Society in presenting a copy of our seal carving project undertaken during the CB period.

We are excited to share this album with the Museum, both as an artwork and as an emotional and psychological archive of the pandemic experience. As the form only allows us to submit one image, I have submitted the pdf of the seal album contents. Please contact me for additional images."

Artwork on Plate from Saybons

Daphane Loke

As a cafe owner, I've been affected by the no dine-in rule during COVID-19. Since I have no use for the my cafe's plates, I decided to turn them into art works and new lease of life. Each plate depict homes from around the world. From China to Italy to France to Singapore.

Printed Cards

Tee Bee Tin

"I designed and printed these cards (called #spreadlove cards) in February 2020 to be given out free to healthcare workers. At that time, 60 cards was sent to SGH. The cards were written with messages from my friends and colleagues. Around 300 given away to people who asked for it or used to say thank you (eg. the indian snack supplier who donated 500 snacks, the Ikea workers working during this period, taxi and grab drivers, etc)"

Face Shields

These shields have a melaphone design laser-cut into them, with a ‘diaphragm’ taped over the holes, to amplify the voice of the wearer. When wearing this face shield, the wearer is noticeably more audible than if they were not to wear any mask or face shield at all. Even when worn with a mask, the shield can improve the voice level by more than four decibles, as compared to wearing a mask alone.