We: Defining Stories

Defining Stories

Recommended for children ages 7 and up.

Stories are part of our DNA.

Personal stories make us who we are and shape our beliefs. For a country, the collective memory of shared experiences define the character and constitution of a nation.

In National Museum of Singapore’s latest exhibition, We: Defining Stories, these stories are told through a collection of more than 400 photographs. In a collaboration with The Straits Times, the exhibition presents key moments in Singapore’s history from 1950 till 2013.

Not intended to be a text-heavy, historical retelling of Singapore’s history, this photojournalistic exhibition instead aims to connect with visitors through visuals and personal touch points.

Story continues below...

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Defining Stories

Organised into six sections covering the themes of Merdeka, Home, Challenges, Heros, So Singaporean and Our Stories, the photos are centered around key events that took place in different time periods.

Some of these events probably would resonate with the older generation (for example, the 1961 Bukit Ho Swee fire and commencement of National Service in 1967) while others are from a more recent past that those who grew up in the 1970s and 1980s would remember (1986 Hotel New World collapse and the Singapore Lion’s 1994 Malaysia Cup win).


National Day

The Challenges section was particularly poignant with tragedies such as the 1983 Sentosa Cable Car disaster and others, as recent as the SARS outbreak of 2003, the Huang Na case in 2004 and the manhunt for Mas Salamat, being recounted. While not “bright and cheery” subjects, these have an important place in the local consciousness.

On a more light-hearted note, visitors will enjoy “recognising” themselves in pictures in the So Singaporean section where unmistakable Singaporean quirks (“choping tissue” and Hello Kitty anyone?) and icons are on display.

The exhibition closes off with Our Stories, a video presentation that juxtaposes historical photographs with more recent ones to demonstrate how the present is connected to the past. Some children may even recall some of the images on display (Angry Birds Cable Car ride anyone?).

We: Defining Stories is an easy exhibition to take in – afterall, who doesn’t like looking at pictures? Its bare, flourescent-lit setting shifts the focus of the exhibition on the photographs. With so many on display, they present a good “jumping-off” point for parents, and even grandparents, to share with older children personal stories and experiences. Put another way, it is an opportunity for parents to share some of their “personal DNA” with the next generation.

We: Defining Stories

Exhibition opens on Sunday, 27 April 2014
Runs till 31 August 2014
10.00 am to 6.00 pm.
Exhibition Gallery 1, Basement, National Museum of Singapore
Free admission

Recommended for children ages 7 and up.

You may also like to visit The People’s Collection – A Special Exhibition which is also at the National Museum till 29 April 2014.


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