The Founders’ Memorial has launched a pilot exhibition, Semangat yang Baru: Forging a New Singapore Spirit, which delves into the dynamism, courage, and values that drove Singapore’s founding leaders and its people during the nation-building years of the 1950s to 1970s. The exhibition, held at the National Museum of Singapore, encourages visitors to reflect on how these values remain relevant in today’s context and what the “new spirit” means for Singapore’s future.

A key artefact on display is a map titled Existing and Future Areas Subject to Pollution (Mid-1970s), which once hung in founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s Istana office. The map highlights Mr Lee’s concern for the environment and the well-being of Singapore’s citizens, even amidst pressing nation-building issues.

Other highlights include specially declassified documents, such as notes of a meeting between Singapore’s and Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Ministers discussing their different approaches to multiracialism, and a daching pig weighing scale contributed by a former pig farmer, Mr Tan Kah Hoe, showcasing the sacrifices made by farmers as the country balanced environmental and economic priorities.

The exhibition embraces innovative technologies, such as cloud infrastructure and 5G connectivity, to offer an authentic and personalized storytelling experience. Virtual guides, known as “Character Companions,” provide personal perspectives on historical developments and policy decisions, while interactive multimedia kiosks allow visitors to discover which founding values they identify most with.

From 21 April to 29 October 2023, the exhibition is co-presented with the National Museum of Singapore and features complementary programs such as bus tours, film screenings, lectures, and group activities. Admission is free for all Singaporeans and Permanent Residents.

This year also marks the 100th anniversary of founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s birth. To commemorate his life and contributions, the National Museum of Singapore and the Founders’ Memorial are launching a digital trail exploring Mr Lee’s legacy, values, and the impact of his ideas and actions on Singapore’s trajectory.

Join in celebrating Singapore’s founding leaders and their values by visiting the Semangat yang Baru: Forging a New Singapore Spirit exhibition and participating in the various programs and activities.

All images: Founders’ Memorial, NHB.

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