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NMS Research Fellowship 2020

The National Museum of Singapore Research Fellowship is now open for application till May 31, 2020 (inclusive).

The National Museum of Singapore invites researchers to contribute to academic scholarship on Singapore history and heritage. Applications from Masters and PhD candidates and PhD degree holders of all disciplines to conduct independent research on topics relating to the National Museum’s collections are welcome.

A stipend of between SGD2,000 to 5,000 per month will be provided to help cover all expenses such as living expenses, transportation, photocopying fee, copyright clearance, and access to local libraries. The final rate of monthly stipend will be determined by the educational qualifications of the Fellow.

Please note that applications which are already funded or being considered for funding by other agencies in Singapore, including other National Heritage Board grants such as the Heritage Grant, are not eligible for funding under this fellowship.

Only successful candidates will be notified.

Suggested topics for research:

No Topic National Museum's Collections

Suggested themes for research
(meant only as suggestion and is not exhaustive)

 1 Natural history representations of Singapore and Southeast Asia

Late 19th century
William Farquhar Collection of Natural History Drawings 

Visual analysis

Colonial forms of knowledge

Nature as history

2 Collection of Straits Settlements Legal records

19th to Early 20th century 

Materials comprising of documents related to transactions of properties and commodities, last wills and testaments, petitions and affidavits

Legal history of Colonial Singapore

Roles played by pioneer lawyers

Commercialization of land
3 Japanese Occupation in Singapore

English, Japanese and Chinese language posters, publications, drawings and 3D materials such as uniforms, flags, and weapons  Explore political and historical context of the Japanese Occupation of Singapore and Southeast Asia in general


Histories of dominance and resistance expressions through art and music
4 Food history in Singapore

Food-related material culture in the collection – objects, photographs, postcards, printed materials such as cook books, menus, magazines


Creation of local industries


Emergence of hawker centres 
5 Design in Singapore

Late 19th century to 1990s 
Archival images of colonial architecture, various examples of print culture such as post cards, book covers, illustrations, catalogues, advertisements, posters and signboards
Histories of 3D and graphic design, production and circulation
6 Singapore’s clothing culture

Late 19th century to 1990s
Textiles, garments, various types of clothing, local and international designer couture, accessories, print culture  History of Singapore’s clothing culture through its manufacturing and consumption patterns

Tastes and ethnic diversity

Emergence of a local designing industry
7 Entertainment history in Singapore

20th century
Materials related to film, theatre and music in Chinese and Malay languages, such as posters, handbills, popular magazines, and vinyl records
The production, distribution and consumption of films

Emergence of star personalities

Trans-border entertainment businesses

Print/visual culture

Creation of local industry including experimentations
8 Entertainment history in Singapore: Radio and television

Collection includes photographs, publications and 3D objects such as radios, televisions and Re-diffusion sets  Explore production and reception patterns

Changes to communication technologies and local media’s relation to nation-building 
9 Housing history in Singapore / Resettlement

Photographs, HDB related publications, plans, documents and house-hold objects
Explore links to town planning

Urban renewal

Land reclamation

Emergence of public housing

10 Industrialisation history in Singapore

Photographs, publications, newsletters, 3D objects including union badges, licenses and Singapore-manufactured goods  Pioneers

Small, medium and large-scale industries

Labour movement

Women’s role

Social consequences

Shifts in economic policies


Application Instructions

  1. Electronic applications should be submitted to Attachments should not exceed 10MB in size. Please download the form here.

  2. Applications must be submitted together with the following supporting documents:

    a. Curriculum vitae of the applicant;
    b. Completed application form;
    c. Research title and proposal;
    d. A clear scan of the certificate of degree / Masters / PhD. If the certificate is not in English, a certified true copy of an official translation from the issuing university must be attached;
    e. One writing sample or copy of a chapter of the applicant’s dissertation in English.

  3. Applications must be submitted by Sunday, 31 May, midnight.

  4. Applicants will receive email acknowledgments of the receipt of their applications upon submission.

  5. Incomplete and/or late applications will be disqualified and will not be considered.

  6. For further information about the NMS Fellowship, please contact