A new World War Two exhibition at the National Museum of Singapore, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the fall of Singapore. When I heard of this upcoming exhibition, my first initial reaction, “Another World War Two exhibition? How different is this from the rest of the other exhibitions?” I wasn’t too sure and I am a bit skeptical on what this exhibition Witness to War: Remembering 1942 is going to showcase to the public.
As I entered into this exhibition for a sneak preview with the curators, prior to her official opening to the public. I knew this was going to be something different and special, it’s not your usual World War Two exhibition. Let me bring you through my experiential journey through my photos and story.
First and foremost, it’s indeed like an international exhibition blockbuster, with more than 130 artefacts from 10 overseas museums and institutions, some never-before-seen artefacts and untold real life stories and accounts of the fall of Singapore.
Catch some old vintage films first
At the beginning of the exhibtion, you would be greeted by different vintage films montage, showing key international events from 1914 to the late 1930s. Observe carefully and you can spot Singapore landscapes and sceneries inside some of the vintage films! The films montage does take your attention span and you might be glued to the big tv projector screens!
Walking down, entering into the central area of the exhibition galleries, you would be to view many artfacts on display, some are really big and you can’t miss them, some are small, don’t go too fast. While I am unable to write and share on every artefact on display, I would highlight and share on artefacts that personally stood out for me. Please visit my photograph album for this exhibition inside my Flickr collection.
New gems and rediscover cherished classics from National Collection
25-Pounder Field Gun
Japanese Army Bungle
Enfield No. 2 Mk. 1 revolver
World class artefacts from 10 overseas museums and institutions
Steel sword (katana) of Lieutanant General Tomoyuki Yamashita
Union Jack Flag
4 pods, 4 themes
Every pod has stories, real life stories from survivors. Visit the pods, sit down, watch and listen, feel, ponder and reflect.
I – Destruction
II – Displacement
III – Love & Loss
IIII – Fortitude
5 stations for children engagement, learning, participation and interaction
Experiential learning is one of the best ways in my personal opinion to learn, especially for young children. There are 5 stations inside the exhibition that the young children are able to engage, learn, participate and interact within and from the exhibition itself.
Student Archivist Project
In this exhibition, visitors can view the works of the next generation of storytellers, the students involvement in this exhibition making process, through their help in recording, preserving and sharing of the war survivors’ experiences. This is an excellent and most meaningful involement, to connect and bridge the different generations together, through inter-generational dialogue and bonding.
Sit down, reflect, leave a mark behind with your thoughts and feelings
At the end of the exhibition, I sat down and reflected on the latest exhibition to be held at the National Museum of Singapore. This wasn’t just another World War Two exhibition that I thought it would be, it’s something really different, something special and unique, the real life stories, heartwarming and heartwrenching at times, the interactions, engagements. There are some things that tugged the heart strings that made it very different and special from the other World War Two exhibitions. The exhibition has the engagements and interactions, ideal for parents to bring their children down to visit and learn more about the war that took place in Singapore, the history, the stories of our survivors. Let’s not take our peace, stability and security of Singapore for granted.
My own personal thoughts and feelings
At the nice table located at the end of the exhibition, sitted on the nice softa, I looked at the small piece of paper for me to pen down my thoughts and feelings of the whole exhibition, the stories from the World War Two survivors. Somehow or another, I couldn’t and I didn’t manage to write it down. I am going to return back to this exhibition again, tour it one more time slowly, observe and learn more about our World War Two history that never see, hear and feel before in other World War Two exhibitions. Of course, I am going to pen it down my thoughts and feelings, and drop into the letter box at the side of the table, for the survivors who shared their remarkable stories with us in this exhibition.
My initial skepticism of this World War Two exhibition had totally changed, this is not just another World War Two exhibition. The experiences, the stories and interactions with and inside the exhibiton make it special and unique. Only when you are there, you will be able to enter into this experiential journey to understand and learn more about the Witness to War: Remembering 1942.
Lest We Forget.
Location: National Museum of Singapore Exhibition Galleries, Basement Level
Period: 23rd September 2017 to 25th March 2018
Opening hours: 10am to 7pm (last admission at 6.30pm)
Free admission for Citizens, Permanent Residents and visitors aged 6 years and below
If you do visit this exhibition, share your experiences, chronicle it on social media via the hashtag #remembering1942.