National Heritage Board



The National Heritage Board (NHB) is a statutory board established on 1 August 1993 under the then Ministry of Information and the Arts.1 Its formation was part of the recommendations of the 1989 Report of the Advisory Council on Culture and the Arts. The goal was to make Singapore a gracious and culturally vibrant society. In November 2012, NHB was subsumed under the Ministry of Culture, Communication and Youth.2 It now manages six museums, as well as several community heritage institutions.3

History
NHB was established through the merger of the National Archives, Oral History Department, and the three museums that made up the National Museum, namely the Singapore Art Museum (SAM), Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) and Singapore History Museum.4 In 2009, community heritage institutions including the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, Malay Heritage Centre and Indian Heritage Centre, as well as the Preservation of Monuments Board, also came under NHB’s purview.5


In November 2012, the National Library Board took over the National Archives of Singapore. In July 2013, the Preservation of Monuments Board was renamed the Preservation of Sites and Monuments. In the same year, SAM was corporatised to forge greater autonomy in the development and growth of visual arts in Singapore.6

Roles and responsibilities
NHB’s roles encompass safeguarding and promoting the heritage of Singapore’s diverse communities, for the purpose of education, nation-building and cultural understanding.7

In 2017, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu announced the Heritage Plan for Singapore, a comprehensive and holistic national blueprint that defined the strategies and initiatives for the country’s heritage sector from 2018 to 2022. The plan would allow Singaporeans to enjoy greater accessibility to museums and cultural institutions, as well as support the documentation, research and safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage. NHB would also partner communities, heritage groups and volunteers to promote Singapore’s heritage. Laws and frameworks to protect archaeological heritage would also be strengthened.8


Milestones9
1993:
NHB is formed.
1994:
NHB holds first blockbuster exhibition, Alamkara: 5000 Years of India, at ACM.
1995:
A total of 14 significant World War II historic site markers are installed.
1996:
Single largest artefact donation to NHB is made by visual artist Wu Guanzhong.
1996:
SAM opens.

1997: ACM moves to former Tao Nan School at Armenian Street.
1998:
National Archives of Singapore moves to Fort Canning Rise.
1999:
NHB’s first heritage trail is launched.
2000:
Heritage Conservation Centre opens.
2000:
Singapore Philatelic Museum joins NHB as a fully owned subsidiary.
2002:
Reflections at Bukit Chandu, a World War II interpretative centre, opens.
2003:
ACM opens at Empress Place.
2004:
Inaugural Singapore HeritageFest is launched.
2006:
National Museum of Singapore re-opens after a three-year facelift.
2008:
Peranakan Museum opens.
2008:
First edition of the Singapore Night Festival is launched.
2009:
Community heritage institutions and the Preservation of Monuments Board join NHB.
2010:
NHB presents a large-scale exhibition, Baba Bling: The Chinese Peranakans of Singapore, for the first time overseas at the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris.
2011:
SAM organises the third Singapore Biennale.

2012: An additional six significant World War II historic site markers are installed.
2013: Up to 100 historic sites have been marked island-wide.
2013:
Singapore’s first community museum, Our Museum@Taman Jurong, opens at Taman Jurong.




Author

Tan Lay Yuen



References
1. Lim Chee Onn heads 16-member heritage board. (1993, July 25). The Straits Times, p. 24. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; National Heritage Board. (2015, October 8). Overview. Retrieved 2017, July 13 from National Heritage Board website: https://www.nhb.gov.sg/about-us/overview
2. National Heritage Board. (2014). Annual report 2013/2014. Singapore: The Board, pp. 4, 14. (Call no.: RSING 363.690605957 SNHBAR-[AR]); Chew, M. (2012, November 2). First day of work for new MCCY. The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. National Heritage Board. (2016, April 15). Museums. Retrieved 2017, July 20 from National Heritage Board website: https://www.nhb.gov.sg/museums/national-museum-of-singapore; National Heritage Board. (2015, July 2). Institutions. Retrieved 2017, July 20 from National Heritage Board website: https://www.nhb.gov.sg/institutions/sun-yat-sen-nanyang-memorial-hall
4. National Heritage Board. (1995, October). Heritage: A quarterly newsletter of the National Heritage Board, 4. Singapore: The Board, p. 2. (Call no.: RSING 069.53 H); National Heritage Board. (2015, July 2). History and milestones. Retrieved 2017, May 14 from National Heritage Board website: https://www.nhb.gov.sg/about-us/history-and-milestones
5. National Heritage Board. (2014). Annual report 2013/2014. Singapore: The Board, p. 10. (Call no.: RSING 363.690605957 SNHBAR-[AR])
6. Nanda, A. (2013, December 14). New chapter for library. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; National Heritage Board. (2014). Annual report 2013/2014. Singapore: The Board, pp. 6, 10. (Call no.: RSING 363.690605957 SNHBAR-[AR])
7. National Heritage Board. (2014). Annual report 2013/2014. Singapore: The Board, p. i. (Call no.: RSING 363.690605957 SNHBAR-[AR])
8. National Heritage Board. (2017, March 9). Heritage plan for Singapore. Retrieved 2017, July 4 from National Heritage Board website: https://www.nhb.gov.sg/about-us/heritage-plan-for-singapore
9. National Heritage Board. (2014). Annual report 2013/2014. Singapore: The Board, pp. 4–11. (Call no.: RSING 363.690605957 SNHBAR-[AR])



The information in this article is valid as at 20 July 2017 and correct as far as we can ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the library for further reading materials on the topic.


 

Subject
Cultural properties--Singapore
Arts>>Art museums, collections and exhibitions
Organisations>>Associations
Organisations