MEMORABILIA FROM TIME CAPSULES

Published on 11 November 2017

Frozen in Time: Time Capsules in Singapore travelling exhibition. (Image courtesy of National Heritage Board)

A travelling exhibition by the National Heritage Board presents the fascinating history of time capsules in Singapore, and the kind of objects that were saved in such capsules for future generations.

BY MELANIE LEE

Singapore has over 50 time capsules since the 19th century – housing artefacts all the way back from the colonial period to recent years. These time capsules often served as milestones marking the country’s progress, and provide snapshots of the eras in which they were buried.

Frozen in Time: Time Capsules in Singapore travelling exhibition. (Image courtesy of National Heritage Board)
Some items similar to those that were voted to be placed into the SG50 time capsule. (Image courtesy of National Heritage Board)

You can find out more about them at the National Heritage Board’s (NHB) latest travelling exhibition, “Frozen in Time: Time Capsules in Singapore”, where a historical overview of these time capsules is presented, along with a selection of nostalgic artefacts from bygone eras that were preserved in such capsules.

At the exhibition, there will be around 40 objects on display that are similar to objects contained in the various time capsules, including an original Encyclopaedia Britannica from 1929, Straits Settlements coins from the 1930s, a 35mm Rollei camera from the 1970s, and a Super Simon game set from the 1980s. There will also be an opportunity for visitors to create their own time capsule to bring home or imagine what Singapore will be like in 2065.

Frozen in Time: Time Capsules in Singapore travelling exhibition. (Image courtesy of National Heritage Board)
Frozen in Time: Time Capsules in Singapore travelling exhibition. (Image courtesy of National Heritage Board)
Frozen in Time: Time Capsules in Singapore travelling exhibition. (Image courtesy of National Heritage Board)

Some of the memorabilia are everyday items which may not be commonly thought of as particularly valuable, such as the clunky pager which was ubiquitous from the 1980s-1990s. However, such time capsule items evoke long forgotten memories, and reveal how technology has advanced so rapidly these past few decades.

Said Mr Alvin Tan, Assistant Chief Executive (Policy & Community), NHB, “Through this travelling exhibition, we hope that Singaporeans will learn about these ‘dormant mini-museums’ which provide interesting insights into specific time periods and events in our nation’s past.”

Members of the public trying their hand at the Super Simon game. (Image courtesy of the National Heritage Board)
Straits Settlement coins on display for public to touch and see at Frozen in Time_Time Capsules in Singapore. (Image courtesy of National Heritage Board)

DID YOU KNOW?

The oldest known time capsule was buried in 1843 at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd and was rediscovered in 2016 while the cathedra was being restored.

Many organisations and institutions created their own time capsules during Singapore’s Golden Jubilee (or SG50) in 201. The items from the official SG50 time capsule can be seen here.

There’s a time capsule from 1937 under the foundation stone of the former Supreme Court (now part of the National Gallery Singapore) that is scheduled only to be opened in the year 3000.

“Frozen in Time: Time Capsules in Singapore” will be on display at Toa Payoh Public Library till 29 Nov 2017, and then at Queenstown Public Library from 1 – 30 Dec 2017, before travelling to other public libraries throughout 2018. Admission is free. Click here for more information. 

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