Street Corner Heritage Galleries: Mini Museums In the Neighbourhood

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We often take for granted the shops found in our local neighbourhood. Now, National Heritage Board is setting out to highlight and celebrate the stories and histories of business and trades in local precincts with its Street Corner Heritage Galleries scheme.

As part of the Our SG Heritage Plan which aims to strengthen partnerships with communities, National Heritage Board will be working closely with local shop owners with minimally 30 years of heritage to establish “mini museums” which showcase their history and heritage.

Street Corner Heritage Galleries

Street Corner Heritage Galleries
Image: MCCY

These street corner heritage galleries will be located on the premises of the shops and display historical documents, photographs and artefacts about the shops. It is a way to capture heritage at the street-level.

The Street Corner Heritage Galleries will be set up with funding, curatorial support and assistance by the National Heritage Board and managed by local shop owners. The Board will also work with local shop owners to develop programmes such as talks, tours and workshops.

Mini Museums in Balestier

The Street Corner Heritage Galleries will kick off with five local businesses at the Balestier precinct from 10 March 2020.

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The first batch of businesses in the Street Corner Heritage Galleries scheme are Loong Fatt Tau Sar Piah, Loy Kee Best Chicken Rice, Lim Kay Khee Optical and Contact Lens Centre, Lam Yeo Coffee Powder Factory, and Sweetlands Confectionery and Bakery.

Street Corner Heritage Galleries by National Heritage Board
Mr Xavier Lee of Loong Fatt Tau Sar Piah. Image: MCCY

Loong Fatt Tau Sar Piah had its beginnings as Western-style bakery in 1948 and today turns out 3,000 to 4,000 tau sar piah each day.

Loy Kee Best Chicken Rice has been selling Hainanese chicken rice in the Balestier area since 1953.

Sweetlands Confectionary and Bakery has its roots in the 1960s and is one of less than 10 traditional bakeries remaining in Singapore.

Lim Kay Khee Optical and Contact Lens Centre is one of the oldest optical shops in Singapore with a history that goes back to the 1930s.

Lam Yeo Coffee Powder Factory was set up in 1960 after an assistant editor from the Nanyang Siang Pau, a Chinese-language newspaper, decided to start selling coffee powder.

More Street Corner Galleries to Come

Four other precincts have been identified for the Street Corner Heritage Galleries scheme. These are Kampong Gelam, Little India, Kreta Ayer / Chinatown and Geylang Serai, and Street Corner Heritage Galleries expect to be rolled out at these areas by 2022.

Mr Alvin Tan, Deputy Chief Executive (Policy & Community), National Heritage Board said: “Through the scheme, we hope to identify existing heritage resources and perform ‘urban acupuncture’ by introducing small-scale interventions to showcase these resources and in the process, revitalise the precinct through street-level heritage.”

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