National Collection to be expanded to include works from designers, architects

These include designs such as fashion, craft and architecture.

Justin Hui

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Published: 6 March 2023, 6:20 PM

The National Collection will be expanded to include design works, it was announced during the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth’s (MCCY) Committee of Supply debate on Monday (Mar 6).

The National Heritage Board (NHB) will work with agencies like the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and National Library Board (NLB) to collect the works of contemporary Singaporean designers and architects, and potentially those from the region as well, said Minister Edwin Tong.

“Design, such as fashion, craft, and architecture, is an important expression of cultural identity, and a catalyst for creativity and innovation. We have some top-class designers in Singapore among us, and we want Singaporeans to see their works,” said Mr Tong. 

Five-year plans for both the Arts and Heritage sectors were also announced. 

Developed after 20 months of stakeholder consultation by the National Arts Council (NAC) and NHB, the Our SG Heritage Plan will run from 2023 to 2027, focusing on the four areas of “identity, community, industry, and innovation”, said Minister of State Low Yen Ling.

Besides expanding the National Collection, the plan includes more focused efforts in the areas of archaeology, encourages public contributions of heritage objects and content, and creates more opportunities for Singaporeans to co-create exhibitions.

There are also efforts to develop new platforms to showcase Singapore’s traditional crafts, culture and heritage overseas, said Ms Low.

NHB is also working with partners from the private sector to develop the scene with digital technologies. These include digital methods to preserve and document heritage assets, and augmentations to visitor experiences at museums through Virtual Reality experiences, 3D displays and Artificial Intelligence.

The first edition of the Heritage Plan that concluded in 2022 saw Singapore’s hawker culture inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, and three National Monuments of the Padang, Fort Siloso and the Singapore River bridges being gazetted and recognised as heritage spaces.

Answering questions regarding the restoration and safeguarding of National Monuments, Mr Tong said that the main Istana building is expected to commence restoration works early next year.

Two other National Monuments, the National Museum of Singapore and Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, will also undergo restoration that is scheduled for completion in 2025.

“We regularly restore our National Monuments to preserve the buildings for posterity and for our future generations,” said Mr Tong.

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