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The Singapore History Gallery Commemorating WWII

Home > Singapore > Places of Interest | Museums | Galleries | Free | Art
by J.D.Wen (subscribe)
I'm based in Singapore with interests in classical music, art & culture related talks, art fairs, ceramics, walking tour, food, travel, photography, pet dogs, fashion, sustainability and urban farming. Contact me at
Published February 24th 2016
Day out in museum
Take a trip through 700 years of Singapore's history with your family and friends to find out how life has changed over the centuries from a sleepy fishing island, to Singapura, a Crown Colony, then Syonan-To, and finally, Singapore the modern megapolitan country.

In celebration of 50 years of independence, this gallery is refreshed with updated stories and content on Singapore's history, capturing the nation's defining moments, challenges and achievements from its earliest beginnings 700 years ago to the present high tech city-state. You could spend quality time with your family and friends through engaging activities and meaningful dialogues about the exhibition.

Here is a list of exhibits in the gallery:

Sejarah Singapura
Founding in 1819 (1800 - 1825)
Straits Settlements (1825 - 1867)
Crown Colony (1867 - 1941)
Battle of Singapore (1941 - 1942)
Japanese Occupation (1942 - 1945)
Post-War Period (1945 - 1949)
Self-Governance (1950s)
Merger (1963 - 1964)
Independence (1960s & 1970s)
Modern Developments (1980s & 1990s)
Singapore Millennium (2000 - 2015)
The Future Singapore (which is after SG50)
In Memoriam: Lee Kuan Yew

National museum, NMS, Singapore History Gallery, History of Singapore, Museum, Gallery, Fun, Family, Weekend, Tourist
History Gallery

Before World War II began the British had developed the "Singapore strategy" to defend the British Empire in Asia by building a naval base at Sembawang, strengthening the air force and installing large 15-inch coastal guns. From then Singapore
was known as the "Gibraltar of the East" or "Fortress Singapore".

The Second Sino-Japanese War started in 1937, it had aroused the patriotism among Chinese communities in Singapore. They formed some organisations then raised funds for helping China in defending the mainland and organised boycotts against Japanese goods and businesses. Eventually many of these people were killed during the war, or caught and eventually died during detention in Singapore.

On 8 December 1941, Singapore experienced war for the first time when the Japanese troops bombed the city. On the same day, Japanese troops landed on the northeast coast of Malaya and began their invasion to the south. After a swift 70-day campaign, the Japanese troops under General Yamashita Tomoyuki (山下 奉文) defeated the British and occupied the Malay Peninsula and Singapore.

After 10 days of fighting on the island, the British under Arthur Percival surrendered on 15 February in the Battle Box of Fort Canning. Under insistence of the Japanese, Percival marched under a white flag to the Old Ford Motor Factory in Bukit Timah to negotiate the terms and signed the surrender document.

Singapore was placed under military occupation and renamed Syonan-To ("Light of the South" in Japanese). While the war continued elsewhere, the Singapore population including POWs (prisoners of war) struggled with food and fuel shortages, disease and, at its worst, violence and harassment from the Japanese troops. The occupation ended when Japan surrendered to the Allies in 1945 after the atomic bombs destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki and killed many of its civilians.

Singapore, WWII, Japanese Army, British Surrender, World War Two, History Gallery, National Museum, Museum, Event, FREE, Family, Weekend, Fun, Kids friendly
History Gallery exhibit

Museum Volunteers will conduct special guided tour which begin from the WW II section of the History Gallery so come and find out more about the WW II history of Singapore.

Singapore History Gallery opens daily from 10am 7pm.
Level 1, National Museum of Singapore, 93 Stamford Road, Singapore 178897
Special tours: 28 Feb | 11:00am, 2:00pm & 3:00pm
For the regular guided tours, please find check here

Surviving Syonan Gallery is located at level 2.

Regular admission charges to the galleries apply. Free admission for Singaporeans and PRs.
Foreign Visitor (Adult) $10/person.
Foreign Visitor (Students & Seniors aged 60 years and above with valid ID) $5/person
The tour is free of charge
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Why? Learn some history
Phone: 65 6332 3659
Where: National Museum of Singapore
Cost: FREE
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