“We have many different kinds of heritage amongst our different races but we have a shared heritage too, and the two are what binds us together. Experiencing each other’s heritage is something that can bring us together even more, such as inviting friends and neighbours of different races to each other’s festivals. Creating community events, as well as inviting the community to participate in welcoming the underserved segments to their homes and events.”
– Visitor to the Our SG Heritage Travelling Exhibition
Our communities comprise the individuals and groups who play a crucial role in preserving, promoting and celebrating Singapore’s tangible and intangible cultural heritage. They include our key stakeholders, non-governmental heritage organisations, interest groups, precinct partners, museum docents, heritage volunteers and enthusiasts.
The participation and support of our communities is important because we depend on them to extend and amplify our efforts, and to improve and enhance our heritage assets and offerings. After all, Singapore’s heritage belongs to every Singaporean, and we hope our communities will join us and play a part in the preservation and promotion of our heritage.
What will Our SG Heritage Plan do?
Support More Ground-up Initiatives
We will continue to support more ground-up heritage projects from our community partners through our Heritage Participation and Project Grants. These grant schemes support a wide range of projects from publications and documentaries, to exhibitions and events, and in doing so, encourage greater community ownership of our shared history and heritage.
Under Our SG Heritage Plan, we will also launch annual Heritage Grant Clinics to equip our community partners and grant applicants with the tools, knowledge and resources to kick-start their own heritage projects, and work with some of these partners to create public showcases for their projects.
Collaborate with More Community Partners
We will continue to collaborate with the community to create and develop exhibitions and programmes that complement existing offerings at our museums and heritage institutions. Under Our SG Heritage Plan, we will work with the community to co-develop content for heritage trails and co-curate community galleries, to showcase the heritage of specific precincts or estates, as well as the stories and memories of residents living in these precincts or estates.
Reach Out Through Technology
Under Our SG Heritage Plan, we will expend more efforts to develop new heritage content, aggregate content across sites, and make our resources more readily available through our digital platforms. We will also improve the user experience across all our digital touch-points, and develop a platform where people can share community and social memories on heritage topics.
As part of our digital engagement efforts, we will be embarking on the following initiatives:
Strengthen Our Digital Content
There are currently more than 100,000 artefacts and resource items from the National Collection published on Roots.sg. We will increase the number of items from the National Collection to be made available online as part of our efforts to promote greater awareness of Singapore’s cultural artefacts.
Facilitate Community Contribution
We will also work with the National Library Board to develop a platform that allows members of the community to share their stories and memories of heritage, which will in turn grow our repository of archival materials.
Develop Our Backend Capabilities
We will develop a new Singapore Heritage Ontology to establish a common content bank for heritage resources in the cultural industry in Singapore, to enhance digital resource management and the user experience.
Facilitate Inter-Community Understanding
While we continue to safeguard and showcase the distinctive heritage of the key communities in Singapore through our heritage institutions, there is also a need to highlight the common threads and shared experiences that bind Singaporeans across communities. We need to use our exhibitions, programmes and festivals to promote social bonding, and facilitate the integration of new citizens. Under Our SG Heritage Plan, our key initiatives in this area will include:
Showcase the Heritage of Our Communities
The Peranakan Museum, together with the three heritage institutions – the Indian Heritage Centre (IHC), Malay Heritage Centre (MHC) and Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall (SYSNMH) – will continue to work with their respective communities to showcase their histories, cultures and traditions through exhibitions, festivals and programmes. We will also step up efforts to promote greater cross-cultural participation and understanding through these exhibitions, festivals and programmes.
Promote Cross-Cultural Understanding
We will continue to develop new programmes to educate participants on the cultural diversity and significant milestones in Singapore history, and to promote empathy and understanding between different communities. We will be introducing a new programme called Neighbourhoods of Harmony, which takes participants on guided tours of neighbourhoods which feature diverse cultural and religious landmarks.
Reach Out to Underserved Communities
Singapore is facing an ageing population, widening income disparity and deepening social divides. In view of such challenges, it is important that we reach out to underserved communities such as the elderly, low-income families, youth-at-risk and individuals with special needs, and that we do so through heritage programmes that effect positive change and provide a channel for such communities to contribute back to society.
Under Our SG Heritage Plan, we will develop a targeted suite of programmes to engage these underserved communities in a more meaningful manner, and engage the relevant partners to co-own and co-administer these programmes. These include:
Promote Active Ageing at Heritage Institutions
The heritage institutions, comprising MHC, IHC and SYSNMH, will serve as Silver Hubs for seniors, and partner the relevant Social Service Organisations (SSOs) to co-develop and co-present age-friendly programmes, such as the recent Conversation Starter Kit for seniors as well as upcoming Reminiscence Walks.
Expand the Reach of HeritageCares
NHB’s HeritageCares programme currently supports 80 SSOs under the Community Chest, to learn more about Singapore’s heritage through guided visits to NHB’s museums and trails. Over the next five years, we hope to reach out to non-Community Chest SSOs, as well as to introduce more HeritageCares programmes that are co-developed with other partners, such as A Walk to Remember and A Cruise to Remember.
Encourage Volunteerism and Giving
In Singapore, volunteerism is growing, with one in three people volunteering in 2016, compared to one in 10 in 2000. The number of volunteers in the arts and culture sector has also multiplied in the last five years. Similarly, donations and sponsorships to the arts and culture sector have witnessed healthy growth over the years.
Under Our SG Heritage Plan, we will ride this trend to actively grow our volunteer base, and create new volunteering opportunities for people to give back to and through heritage. We will also actively reach out to various sponsors and donors, including corporate organisations, as part of our efforts to attract philanthropic contributions that support the safeguarding and promotion of our heritage.