“The More We Get Together, The Happier We’ll Be” goes the children’s song. If those lyrics invoke a sense of nostalgia in you, there is more to come at the National Museum of Singapore playground exhibition of the same name.
The More We Get Together: Singapore’s Playgrounds 1930 – 2030 is National Museum of Singapore’s first extensive exhibition on Singapore’s playgrounds. Covering 100 years of the humble playground’s role in Singaporean life, the exhibition takes visitors back to the days when playgrounds were hardly to be found and on to a visioning exercise for the future.
The National Museum of Singapore playground exhibition is segmented into four parts.
Early Playgrounds in Singapore
In the 1930s, designated playgrounds were a scarce commodity. Instead, children played wherever they pleased. It was only in 1928 that the first municipal playground was built at Dhoby Ghaut.
Katong Park, one of the oldest parks in Singapore, already received playground equipment donated by David J. Elias in 1930s. This consisted of swings, a see-saw and a slide.
The playgrounds from the 1920s to the 1960s get an airing in the exhibition’s first section, Singapore’s Early Playgrounds with audio recordings and displays of old photographs.
Playgrounds in the Neighbourhood
The green hues of the first section segues into a mosaic-inspired section of the exhibition, Playing in the Neighbourhood: HDB Playgrounds.
From the 1970s to 1993, the Housing & Development Board took the step of designing and building their own playgrounds, seeking inspiration from local heritage and culture. In this section of the exhibition, prototype drawings of early dragon playgrounds and other designs can be viewed.
A sandpit in the middle of the room allows curious visitors to dig up more information about the various construction materials for in these playgrounds.
There is also a video where you can watch interviews with some of those instrumental in the building of the cherished playgrounds from this period of time. The video provides an inside look at the design thinking behind the various playgrounds.
Playgrounds of Today
The next section, Make Fun and Safe Playgrounds a Business, is dominated by a miniature climbing playground inspired by the West Coast Park pyramid. The 2.5 metre play structure is donated by CT-Art Creation Pte Ltd, the company behind the iconic West Coast Park structure.
Here, you can find more information about the playgrounds of today, such as the Admiralty Park slide playground, and the companies behind them.
Playgrounds of Tomorrow
Before exiting the National Museum of Singapore playground exhibition The More We Get Together: Singapore’s Playgrounds 1930 – 2030, step into a section that delves into the future of playgrounds.
Here, you can try to create your own playground on a touchscreen and have it projected onto a video wall. The inputs from visitors will be analysed and will guide the design of the new playground which will be built at National Museum of Singapore.
Play for Toddlers and Kids
While you will have to wait for the National Museum of Singapore’s playground to be built, the Rotunda has been transformed into a play space for toddlers in conjunction with the playground exhibition.
The work of French artist Matali Crasset, The Dynamic Lines of Our Nest draws on the building’s architecture and the Australian pine tree to create a colourful playpen for toddlers. This can be turned into a gigantic mobile by turning a handle at the centre of the installation.
Bouncy inflatable playgrounds in the design of various mosaic playgrounds will also be out on the National Museum of Singapore’s front lawn from 10 am to 5.30 pm with other activities held on 21 and 22 April in conjunction with the exhibition’s opening.
The More We Get Together: Singapore’s Playgrounds 1930 – 2030 – National Museum of Singapore playground exhibition
Where: Stamford Gallery, National Museum of Singapore
When: 20 April to 30 September 2018