Located at the gateway to Little India, the Indian Heritage Centre at Campbell Lane is the perfect introduction to this historic district of Singapore.
Opened in 2015, the Indian Heritage Centre captures the story of early Indian immigrants to Singapore and their pioneering contributions. Its permanent galleries are spread over two storeys in the four-storey building and organised around five themes.
After picking up a ticket from the counter on the ground floor, take the lift up to the fourth storey where the exhibition begins.
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Prior to the galleries proper is a room where you can watch a 10-minute video wall presentation. The informative video is organised along the same themes as the gallery and provides a good overview of what is come.
Take note that the video alternates between English and Tamil language versions.
Early Contact: Interactions Between South and Southeast Asia
The first section of the gallery, Early Contact: Interactions Between South and Southeast Asia, delves into the early interactions between the South Asian sub-continent and Southeast Asia. This can be seen through various exchanges on the religious and trade front.
On display are artefacts such as religious statues that illustrate how the two region’s cultures influenced each other.
Roots and Routes: Origins and Migrations
There were several waves of migration from South Asia to Southeast Asia.
The next section, Roots and Routes: Origins and Migrations, traces the traditions that were brought over from India by the migrants as well as the arduous journey they undertook to get to Singapore.
Pictures show different aspects of Indian culture, for example, clothing and trades, and how they were carried over by migrants.
You can also to explore the sea journey early migrants made to get to Southeast Asia at a display made out to look like trunks packed for a voyage.
The Roots and Routes: Origins and Migrations section ends at a balcony that overlooks the floor below where the permanent gallery continues. To the left of the balcony is a sliding door leading to steps that bring you to the floor below.
Pioneers: Early Indians in Singapore and Malaya
The exhibition continues with the spotlight cast on early Indian pioneers in 19th and early 20th century Singapore. These pioneers distinguished themselves in their trade and occupations.
Occupations are represented by mannequins dressed in uniforms and work wear. Cabinet displays showcase various tools of the trade.
Social and Political Awakening of Indians in Singapore and Malaya
By the 20th century, there was a growing nationalist movement in India. This was bolstered by World War II and led by giant figures from history such as Gandhi.
The next section of the permanent gallery recounts this wave of nationalism and how it spilled over to the Indian diaspora as well.
Making of the Nation: Contributions of Indians in Singapore
The final section of Indian Heritage Centre’s permanent gallery focusses on contributions made by the Indian community to Singapore. Artefacts on display provide a personal look at luminaries such as S Rajaratnam.
The Indian Heritage Centre celebrates the diversity of Indian culture and traditions. As with most museums, the longer you take to appreciate the exhibits, the more you will get out of the visit.
Once you are done at the Indian Heritage Centre, step back outside to Little India with a deeper appreciation of the long and rich history of the Indian community in Singapore.
Indian Heritage Centre
Address: 5 Campbell Lane, Singapore 209924
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