ArtScience Museum unlocks The Straits Times’ rich archives of 170 years

Entrance-to-Singapore-STories-Then-Now-Tomorrow-exhibition.jpg
Entrance to Singapore STories- Then, Now, Tomorrow exhibition
Entrance to Singapore STories- Then, Now, Tomorrow exhibition

Singapore STories: Then, Now, Tomorrow, a free multi-media exhibition co-organised by The Straits Times and ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands, opens to the public from 17 July to 4 October 2015. The exhibition weaves together unforgettable moments in Singapore’s 170 years of history through the lens of Singapore’s oldest English-language daily newspaper. Visitors will also have a chance to imagine what Singapore will be like in 50 years.

One of the highlights at Singapore STories is a display of artefacts from The Straits Times’ archives. This includes a photo assignment book from September 1949 to December 1950 that includes an entry on September 30, 1950 to cover the wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Lee Kuan Yew at Raffles Hotel. Photographers had their assignments recorded in such books from the 1940s until the mid-1980s, before the process was computerised.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to view an original and rare copy of The Straits Times Annual (1905-1906), featuring stories and photos on life in Singapore and Malaya. The Annual, launched to target the market for Christmas gifts, was revived in the 1930s and published again from 1950 until the early 1980s.

Display of artefacts from The Straits Times archives
Display of artefacts from The Straits Times archives

In addition to artefacts that showcase The Straits Times’ historical development, the exhibition highlights headlines, articles, and photographs from the newspaper that tell stories of Singapore, both famous and lesser known ones.

From its first issue, which highlights Singapore’s importance as an agent of global commerce, to the announcement of Singapore’s separation from Malaysia and the recent push towards universal healthcare, The Straits Times archives provides a unique and captivating glimpse into where Singapore has been, how its people came to be who they are today, and where the country is headed next. Taking a peek at news-making developments of tomorrow, the exhibition will also showcase ideas crowd-sourced from Singaporeans that are set to transform Singapore’s future city, changing the way people and the community live, work and play.

George Tanasijevich, Chief Executive Officer and President of Marina Bay Sands, said: “Marina Bay Sands is proud to work in partnership with the Straits Times to curate and house this meaningful exhibition, which is especially relevant in the year of Singapore’s Golden Jubilee. It is an honor to assist in conveying the rich history of Singapore to locals and visitors alike.”

The Straits Times photo assignment book
The Straits Times photo assignment book

Visitor experience at Singapore STories will be enhanced through interactive activities integrated throughout the six themed galleries (Business, Home, World, Sport, Life and Forum). In the Sport gallery, visitors are encouraged to build their own futuristic sports complex using blocks and joints. Visitors can also test their knowledge of acronyms commonly used in Singapore in the Home gallery.

Warren Fernandez, Editor of The Straits Times said: “The Straits Times has been covering the significant moments in the life of this island since 1845. These stories, photos and pages form part of our rich archives. With the help of our friends at ArtScience Museum, we have brought these alive in an interactive exhibition. Visitors will get to walk through the pages of the ST and feel like they are living history.”

#BuildSG2065 by Presenting Sponsor CapitaLand

The Forum gallery features ideas from the public about life in Singapore in 2065. The ideas were drawn from over 2,000 entries of the ‘Building Communities – Setting the stage for Singapore2065’ campaign (#BuildSG2065) by CapitaLand, a Singapore company and one of Asia’s largest real estate developers.

Through the #BuildSG2065 campaign, Singaporeans unleashed their creative ideas and shared their visions for Singapore in the next 50 years. A showcase of the 50 top ideas from #BuildSG2065 is organised around five core themes: alternative energy sources; living in the sky, out into the sea or underground; new modes of transportation; smart homes, and integrated and interconnected developments.

In the same gallery, visitors can try out the the Vox Box, an interactive activity which helps visitors understand how sound energy can be used to power future devices.

Lim Ming Yan, President & Group CEO, CapitaLand, said: “#BuildSG2065 was created to capture the public’s dreams and aspirations for Singapore, specifically towards our built environment. As we look back at our past successes and challenges in this important milestone of SG50, we wanted to inspire Singaporeans to look ahead, using what we have learnt to build a better future. We are pleased to receive over 2,000 entries, with participants ranging from age four to 80. It is a meaningful campaign, not just for CapitaLand, but also for Singapore, because it is a platform for the voices from the ground, from all walks of life, sharing with us what they hope to see when Singapore turns 100.”

Mr Lim added: “However far-fetched the ideas may seem, they can be tomorrow’s reality. There are certainly many ideas that we can pilot and try out, and others that we can explore as technology matures. As a Singapore company that puts our stakeholders first, we hope these ideas have not only inspired us, but will further inspire policy makers, urban planners and property developers to join us in building better communities in Singapore – the place we call home.”

Gold Sponsor Standard Chartered Bank

Standard Chartered Bank is featured in the Business gallery. The bank’s contribution to the growth of Singapore’s trade and economy since 1859, when it opened here, is highlighted through significant photos and headlines, including the news that it established the first merchant bank in Singapore in 1970. There is also a video in the gallery that mines The Straits Times’ archives to offer a close look at the bank’s role in Singapore through the years.

On its support of the exhibition, Neeraj Swaroop, CEO, Standard Chartered Bank, Singapore said: “We are proud to partner The Straits Times in showcasing the highlights of Singapore’s development and accompany Singaporeans down memory lane. Singapore STories is not just a celebration of success. This exhibition also celebrates a nation of people who have, individually and collectively, played an important role, however big or small, in shaping Singapore to what it is today. Banks like ourselves have an important role to play and we focus on doing the small things right. We believe that by running our operations well, contributing to sustainable economic growth, standing by our clients and customers and investing in the communities in which we operate, we can be Here for good and an agent of positive change. As we celebrate Singapore’s achievements today, we look forward to continuously contributing to the Singapore story, both as a corporate and as individuals.”

Best Denki, Equipment Sponsor

A leading electrical and electronic retailer in Singapore, Best Denki is the equipment sponsor for the Singapore STories exhibition, providing large-screen TV sets, tablets and speakers from leading electronics brand LG. The TV sets, in particular, have been used in creative ways to showcase their sophistication and versatility. Four 55-inch LG TV sets are used in the dramatic entrance display to show 170 years of front pages from The Straits Times while 12 world first curved OLED TVs are used throughout the exhibition to create an immersive experience of digital content from The Straits Times’ archives. Consumers can visit Best Denki Ngee Ann City to get a firsthand immersive experience of the LG world first curved OLED TVs from 17-19 July 2015.

Kenji Hanasaki, President of Best Denki, Singapore, said: “Best Denki is proud to be a sponsor of this exhibition. Best Denki had a long and good relationship with SPH since our inception in Singapore in 1985. The Straits Times has always been a main and strong media tool for us. Best Denki is excited to be part of this exhibition which brings audiences through the history of Singapore for the past 170 years. As Singapore progresses, we look forward to improving consumers’ quality of life with the latest electrical and electronics products.”

Gallery_Tradesmen of the past
Gallery – Tradesmen of the past

Opening Weekend

Over the opening weekend, visitors can join free exclusive guided tours by the exhibition’s co-curators, The Straits Times correspondent Huang Lijie and ArtScience Museum project manager Julia Vasko. They will offer insight into curatorial process and the significance of the images and stories exhibited.

To complement Singapore STories, ArtScience Museum will be organising a public workshop, Printing from the Past: Letterpress and typesetting on selected days. Limited to 12 participants for each session, the hands-on class provides an introduction to letterpress printing, basic typesetting and typography. During the workshop, participants will get to operate the press and print their own card with letterpress metal types.

For more information on the exhibition and programming events, please visit www.marinabaysands.com/ArtScienceMuseum

For more photos of from the media preview, check out KAvenyou’s Facebook page:
Singapore STories: Then, Now, Tomorrow Media Preview

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