Built to last: This exhibition spotlights Singapore’s awesome national monuments

PHOTO: National Heritage Board

What do The Cathay, Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, and Masjid Sultan have in common?

If you guessed that these buildings are old, you're correct — but specifically, they have been gazetted as National Monuments.

What's a National Monument?


The original definition is too long and boring, but tl:dr — a preserved historic building, site, or structure afforded the highest level of protection in Singapore. Most of the 73 National Monuments in our country are older than your ah ma for sure.

The folks at the Preservation of Sites and Monuments (PSM) division, National Heritage Board are in charge of identifying and safeguarding these relics of Singapore's history.

Or before you plan your trip, how about going to our National Museum to see all the National Monuments under one roof?


The Singapore National Museum is hosting a special exhibition called "PSM50: Celebrating the Golden Jubilee of Singapore's Preservation Journey", which marks 50 years since the 1971 Preservation of Monuments Act was greenlit to preserve our architectural monuments.

Wait a minute, the exhibit is at the National Museum... which itself is a National Monument. We see what you did there, NHB.

Exhibition highlights

Prepare to feel like Godzilla as you tower above these 3D printed National Monuments. These 11 mini structures were made by Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) grad Matt Chiu.

If only we had half the skillfulness of Ashley Yeo, who did these paper cuttings of nine monuments. Each piece took this University of Arts London grad about one and a half weeks to make. 

Fun fact: she was also the first Singaporean artist to be shortlisted for the LOEWE Craft Prize UK in 2018.

You gotta be a max skill level embroidery artist like Shirley Soh to do work this small. The part-time tutor at Lasalle's McNally School of Fine Arts also created the "Konfrontasi" (confrontation in Malay) memorial installed at Dhoby Ghaut.

Travel back in time with this VR experience of the former Tanjong Pagar Railway Station, which was made by 14 SUTD students.

They used VR software by Dassault Systemes, the European company that also sponsored the exhibit. Once you've put on the headset, take a "walk" inside the main hall so you can examine the station's murals and art deco-style facade up close.

Just as cool is this 360-degree illustration of Telok Ayer street done by one of our fav artists, Lee Xin Li.

The Central Fire Station built with Lego. Praying for an actual set. Btw, there are Lego dinosaurs invading our Singapore Zoo. 

When was the last time you wore 3D glasses? These special stereographic shots were a collab with Italian photographer Alberto Fanelli back in 2016.

Wedding photos at National Monuments. Inspo for you to pop the question maybe?

There's plenty more to see at the PSM50 exhibition. Check it out before it ends Jan 2, 2022.

This article was first published in Wonderwall.sg.

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