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By: Nessa Anwar
There is no shortage of art and culture in Singapore, with exhibitions celebrating all kinds of art throughout the year. And an outing to these places usually warrants an outfit-of-the-day photo. We visit two stalwarts of the Singapore art scene, which will give you the perfect #ootd photo you need to commemorate your day out.
We ride to the National Museum, where Singaporeans and Permanent Residents can enter for free. Everyone from all ages, races and nationalities will definitely find something to love about this museum, from the decor, the informative and at times, heart-wrenching galleries, to the interactive displays.
This oldest museum in Singapore was at one time, called the Raffles Library and Museum, during its inception on October 12,1887. It has kept its presentation of Singapore history and culture current, and has festivals and curated events alongside its permanent galleries all year round.
If you are looking for a dose of history from the experts, there are tours that you can join every weekday from 11am to 3pm. You will find that the beautiful white walls of the building amaze tourists and locals alike, and many couples find their inspiration for their wedding photo shoots here too. And family trips have never seen better days with the National Museum’s ‘Children’s Season’, when every year, they dedicate the school holidays for activities and learning journeys for the whole family. This year, the season ran during the school holidays in June 2017, so keep a lookout for next year’s session!
Our second location is much newer, established in November 2015. The National Gallery Singapore seems like one of those places that has been around for a long time. And it has. It is actually made up of two national monuments, connected by a rooftop linkway, with immense history surrounding them: The Old Supreme Court building, and City Hall.
Take a walk with us through these halls, which have witnessed numerous historical events. In August 1939, the Old Supreme Court was the last colonial-style building to be built in Singapore. A few years earlier in 1937, a time capsule containing newspapers dated March 31, 1937, along with some currency from the Straits Settlements were buried, as the foundation stone was laid by Sir Shenton Thomas. The time capsule is slated to be opened in the year 3000, so we will have to wait until then before we can view its contents again.
It was gazetted as a national monument in 1992, before being vacated in 2005 when the new Supreme Court building opened.
Standing adjacent to it is City Hall, which is also steeped in history. It was built in the late 1920s and was called the Municipal Building until 1951. Since then, it has borne witness to many key political moments in Singapore history. It was where the Japanese formally surrendered to the British on September 12, 1945, to Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten, in the City Hall Chamber, which has been meticulously preserved. After Singapore was granted its city-state status, the Municipal Building was renamed City Hall.
The same City Hall Chamber has also seen the rise of Singapore as we know it. It was also the place where our first Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew, and his cabinet were sworn in on June 5, 1959, and where Yusof bin Ishak, our first president, was inaugurated just six months later. On the same day, it witnessed the unveiling of the national anthem, national flag, and national crest. Given the number of historic moments that have taken place within its magnificent structure, it is certainly no surprise that City Hall was gazetted as a national monument on February 14, 1992.
With over 64,000 square metres of floor area, the National Gallery is Singapore’s largest museum, and one of the biggest in the region. It exhibits mostly artwork and historical pieces from Singapore’s National Collection. Apart from the artwork, it is worth a trip to marvel at this architectural gem of a national monument, and how the past and the present is merged together in this ingeniously transformed museum.