Share Your Story, Shape Our Memorial: A roving public call for objects and stories of our nation-building years

Share Your Story, Shape Our Memorial: A roving public call for objects and stories of our nation-building years

Did you know that Singapore was once a manufacturer of the iconic German Rollei cameras? In 1971, Rollei sponsored hundreds of trainees from Singapore to learn the manufacturing process of the cameras for several months in Germany. Upon their return in 1972, the trainees went straight to work with starting the assembly line for camera shutters.

If this story piqued your interest, you’ll find a few more like it at the Founders’ Memorial travelling exhibition, Share Your Story, Shape Our Memorial. Launched at Gardens by the Bay on 28 Apr, the exhibition will be travelling to locations including shopping malls, public libraries, and community centres across the island until February 2023.

The exhibition is the first live output of Founders’ Memorial, a large-scale initiative that serves to honour the values and ideals of Singapore’s founding generation of leaders. The idea was first seeded in a parliamentary statement by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong three weeks after the passing of Singapore’s first Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew.

happy school heritage arts
One of the graduating cohorts of Happy School, a school set up by two cabaret girls of Happy World to bring education to the children of Geylang.
A 1960s vinyl containing a record of our National Anthem.

Visitors to the exhibition will be introduced to the mission and vision of the Founders’ Memorial and get a first look at its design and architectural plans. The physical memorial is slated to open at the Bay East Garden in 2027. The exhibition will also guide how you can contribute to the growing collection of artefacts and narratives that tells the story of Singapore’s history from the 1950s to the 1970s.

Here’s what you need to know about the Founders’ Memorial travelling exhibition.

1. When and where

The travelling exhibition is currently on at Gardens by the Bay until 12 Jun. Head to The Canopy to view some artefacts and stories that shaped our founding years. Admission is free

when and where heritage arts
when and where exhibition heritage arts

Find out where the exhibition will travel next with the exhibition schedule here.

2. How to contribute

“We hope that more Singaporeans will come forward to share their personal artefacts and stories, and help shape our Founders’ Memorial.” – Mr Timothy de Souza

Know an elder relative who has a memorable story about Singapore’s budding years? Perhaps a vintage photograph of a building that no longer exists? Submit it to the collection online!

One such example is Mr Timothy de Souza, whose photograph contribution tells the story of his training days in the United Kingdom in 1968. He was one of our nation’s first fighter pilots.

mr timothy de souza photo heritage arts
A photograph of Mr Timothy de Souza, training to be one of Singapore’s first fighter pilots in December 1968.

If you’re wondering whether your artefact or story fits the requirement, check out the Founders’ Memorial wishlist here.

3. Beyond the travelling exhibition

While a big part of the Founders’ Memorial initiative is gathering more artefacts from its public call for submissions, its collection to date is already significant in volume. The online exhibition is divided into four chapters, telling stories of our nation building years through mediums such as text, video, and virtual 3D models.

Find out how you can contribute an artefact or story here.

(Photos: Founders’ Memorial)

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