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National Archives of Singapore

National Archives of Singapore (34)

More than 10,000 linear meters of paper files and records, nearly 300,000 reels of film, a little over 4 ½ million images, over 15,000 hours of oral history recordings and another 80,000 hours of audiovisual material ... Undoubtedly, this building houses all the pieces of Singapore’s history.

The National Archives of Singapore, also known by its initials NAS, was established following an act of parliament in 1968. This is where the nation's collective memory is kept, so that current and future generations of Singaporeans can understand the different cultures, explore their common heritage and appreciate who they are and how they formed this great nation.

Initially, the NAS was known as the NARC, the National Archives and Records Centre, but after incorporating the Oral History Department in 1979, it became the National Archives and the Department of Oral History.

In keeping with the local custom of moving their flagship institutions from place to place, the NAS moved several times before ending up where you see it today, at 1 Canning Rise, formerly an Anglo Chinese college.

If you like to delve into history, here you will find inventories, photo albums, publications, recordings and other research resources that date back even before the arrival of Sir Stamford Raffles. In the vast selection of materials available for consultation you will also find architectural plans for some of Singapore’s most important buildings, recordings of the city’s oral history, photographs, small films, slides, maps, etc..

If you are a true history buff, don’t miss the two new space created by the NAS.

First of all, don’t miss the new Second World War interpretive centre, called Reflections at Bukit Chandu, located at 31 Pepys Road. This centre opened in 2002, and commemorates the sacrifice of the Malay Regiment’s men who in February of 1942, gave everything for Singapore. It was the Battle of Bukit Chandu. It was 1,400 Malay troops fighting against 13,000 Japanese. In the words of the then minister of art and information George Yong-Boon Yeo, "if we do not remember our heroes, we can not create new ones.

Also, in 2006, another centre opened at 351 Upper Bukit Timah Road.  It is the Memories at the Old Ford Factory.  This factory began its history in October 1941 as the first assembly plant for Ford vehicles in all of Southeast Asia, but its fate would soon change. During the Malay campaign it was used by the Royal Air Force to assemble warplanes.  In the last moments before the surrender on 15 February 1942, Tomoyuki Yamashita was here while Percival and his men discussed their options in The Battlebox, the bunker in Fort Canning Park. Later, during the occupation, the Japanese also used this plant for military purposes. Finally, after the war, the Ford factory resumed its activity in 1947 before finally closing in June 1980. Therefore, on 15 February 2006, the factory’s building was declared a national monument.

So now you know: if you're curious and want to soak up data, photographs, maps and plans, listen to tapes or watch audio-visual pieces of Singapore’s history, this is your place.

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