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Celebrate Singapore's heritage with these NHB events for 2023

Host of exhibitions, festivals, trails and programmes to immerse yourself in Singapore's history, culture and heritage

Entrance of Peranakan Museum Singapore (Photo: Getty Images)
Entrance of Peranakan Museum Singapore (Photo: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE - Not sure what to do for family outings? Want to impress your date with your knowledge on local history? The National Heritage Board (NHB) has got you covered for the rest of the year with a lineup of exhibitions, festivals, roadshows, trails and programmes.

Here is the breakdown of this year's major events:

FEBRUARY

Battle for Singapore 2023

(Various locations, 10 February to 5 March)

To commemorate the 81st anniversary of the Fall of Singapore, guided tours, talks, exhibitions, and film screenings will feature familiar as well as lesser-known stories of Singapore during World War II. Do not miss the specially-curated visits to sites of historical significance which are usually not accessible to the public.

Reopening of the Peranakan Museum

(Open to public from 17 February)

After a three-year revamp, the Peranakan Museum will reopen to the public on 17 February. Explore the art, culture and traditions of Peranakan communities in Southeast Asia through one of the world’s most comprehensive public collections of Peranakan objects.

MARCH

Connections Across Oceans: Early Chinese Mutual Aid Organisations Special Exhibition

(Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, 10 March to 10 December)

In collaboration with the C.V. Starr Library of University of Berkeley, California, this special exhibition will showcase the early Chinese mutual aid organisations in Singapore and San Francisco throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.

Toa Payoh Heritage Trail

(Opening 23 March)

The refreshed trail will include new thematic routes, and documents the town's development from a swampland to its present status as a pioneering town centre. Notable landmarks of heritage to be featured include the Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery, and the iconic Toa Payoh Dragon Playground.

UNESCO Representative List Submission

Singapore will join Malaysia, Thailand and Brunei in nominating the kebaya for inscription onto the UNESCO Representative List of the ICH of Humanity. This would mark the republic’s first multinational nomination, and the first multinational nomination involving the participating four countries. The result is expected to be announced in end-2024.

APRIL

Semangat yang Baru – Forging a New Singapore Spirit

(National Museum of Singapore, April to October)

This special exhibition co-presented alongside the Founders’ Memorial will bring to life the spirit of dynamism and courage captured in Singapore's National Anthem.

Opening of 'Reunion' Space

(National Museum of Singapore)

Created in collaboration with Lien Foundation, this will be the first dedicated social space designed for seniors in a local museum. Designated programmes using the museum’s collection and immersive gallery spaces will be crafted to support the well-being of seniors and persons with dementia.

MAY

Singapore HeritageFest 2023

(Various locations, 1 to 28 May)

As Singapore HeritageFest turns 20, the festival will present its first-ever symposium spotlighting the evolution of Singapore’s landscape. More than 80 experiences - including exhibitions, installations, talks, tours and workshops - will help visitors connect with Singapore's rich sporting and public transportation history.

Now Boarding: Experiencing Singapore through Travel, 1800s-2000s

(National Museum of Singapore, 26 May to 19 November)

The exhibition will examine how Singapore has been depicted and perceived by travellers from past to present. It will also explore the visual language that has shaped our unique identity and brand.

Andrew Gn: From Singapore to the World

(Asian Civilisations Museum, 27 May 2023 to 17 September)

This exhibition presents the fashion journey of Andrew Gn, one of Singapore’s most prolific fashion designers. Through five sections and over 100 representative works, the exhibition explores his roots in Asia, as well as his expressions of Asian and Western art and history through his creations.

Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore (Photo: Getty Images)
Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore (Photo: Getty Images)

JUNE

Children’s Season

(various venues)

Jointly presented by NHB and the Museum Roundtable, this year's Children’s Season will feature immersive cultural experiences in museums and galleries for fun family bonding. A wide range of offerings will be organised in hopes to inspire, engage, and educate children of all ages.

Malay Heritage Centre: Malay World Travelling Roadshow

(Various venues, 2 to 25 June)

This roadshow will tell stories of the Malay community through exhibitions and programmes in new revamped galleries.

Documentation of Intangible Cultural Heritage

(Second quarter of the year)

A series of 10 videos featuring Malay performing arts (traditional Malay music, dance and theatre) and practitioners will be released. Some of the videos were produced by students from St. Joseph’s Institution.

JULY

Launch of Street Corner Heritage Galleries: Geylang Serai

The latest addition to the galleries series that were launched in Kampong Gelam, Balestier, Little India, and Chinatown. Working closely with local shop owners with at least 30 years of history in Geylang Serai, NHB will co-create “mini museums” in the precinct.

Racial Harmony Day Celebrations

(Malay Heritage Centre, Indian Heritage Centre and Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall)

A curated hybrid campaign of both online and offline programmes will be launched to promote racial harmony day and showcase Singapore's diverse and vibrant local culture.

AUGUST

Singapore Night Festival

(Bras Basah and Bugis precinct, 18 to 26 August)

Festival-goers can expect to experience commissioned projection mappings, light art installations and live performances, along with a variety of experiential programmes and food and retail experiences.

Special Exhibition on the Singapore Malayalee Community

(Indian Heritage Centre, 18 August to 19 May 2024)

The Indian Heritage Centre’s sixth special exhibition, and third community co-curated exhibition, will feature the Singapore Malayalee community. The heritage and identity of the Malayalees will be showcased through displayed artefacts and anecdotes, immersive and interactive digital exhibits, and a variety of programmes and educational activities.

Ang Mo Kio Heritage Trail

The refreshed trail will trace the history and heritage of Ang Mo Kio and feature architectural icons like Block 259 (also known as the “Clover Block”), Liuxunsanhemiao Temple and Ang Mo Kio Joint Temple, as well as new sites including Kebun Baru Singing Club and the Church of Christ the King.

SEPTEMBER

Wan Qing Mid-Autumn Festival 2023

(Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, 29 August to 8 October)

The 12th edition will organise programmes including lantern-marking or mooncake-making classes, storytelling sessions, and interactive craft demonstrations. Visitors can also look forward to a thematic lantern installation, which will be on display at the lawn during the entire festival period.

OCTOBER

Deepavali Celebrations

(Indian Heritage Centre, October to November)

Over two weekends, a variety of cultural performances, workshops and craft activities will be held in the heart of Little India.

Stewards of Intangible Cultural Heritage Award

Open call for nominations will be launched in March. This award ceremony is organised in recognition of the dedication of Intangible Cultural Heritage practitioners and to support practitioners who actively transmit their skills and knowledge to the next generation.

Patron of Heritage Awards 2022

This annual event honours individuals and organisations that have made significant contributions towards enriching our national heritage.

NOVEMBER

Manila Galleons: Connecting Asia to the World

(Asian Civilisations Museum, November 2023 to March 2024)

Over 100 precious gold and silver wares, paintings, sculptures, and textiles will illustrate how vibrant, multi-racial communities in the Philippines and Mexico brought together artists and traders from all over the world.

DECEMBER

Changi Heritage Trail

NHB’s 24th heritage trail will trace the history of Changi’s role as a place that connects Singapore with the world. The area’s military and security past will be examined through notable landmarks such as Changi Prison, the Old Changi Hospital, and barracks and airbases.