On Paper: Singapore Before 1867

28 September 2019 – 22 March 2020
10.00am – 9.00pm
Level 10, Gallery
National Library Building
Free admission

On Paper: Singapore Before 1867 features over 150 paper-based artefacts that tell the story of Singapore’s early history – from a 17th-century Portuguese navigational chart that points to the existence of a Shahbandar (harbour master) on Singapore island to the key document that established the Straits Settlements as a Crown Colony of Britain on 1 April 1867.

Through carefully preserved records from the collections of the National Library, National Archives of Singapore and overseas institutions, On Paper presents a rare treat to all who are interested in our nation’s past.

Click below to download the exhibition brochure and guide.

Curiocity: Raffles Place

28 Sep 2019 – 22 Mar 2020

Level 1, Lobby, National Library Building

Curiocity explores one of Singapore’s most iconic and historical districts – Raffles Place. CurioCity presents photographs, books, building plans, archival footage as well as oral history records exploring the evolution of and memories associated with the city’s commercial centre.


An island by any other name…

21 August 2019 – 24 March 2020

Central Public Library – 21 August to 29 October 2019
Tampines Regional Library – 22 August to 30 October 2019
Ang Mo Kio Public Library – 30 October to 16 December 2019
Geylang Public Library – 31 October to 17 December 2019
Woodlands Regional Library – 17 December 2019 to 29 January 2020
Queenstown Public Library – 18 December 2019 to 30 January 2020
Bedok Public Library – 30 January 2020 to 23 March 2020
Jurong Regional Library – 31 January 2020 to 24 March 2020

The earliest records of Singapore’s existence can be found in maps and charts that help us understand how Singapore was known to the outside world from as early as the 1400s. However, as early map makers were often unfamiliar with the region misspellings and misidentifications abounded, resulting in much confusion as to where Singapore island was and what it was called!

An island by any other name… explores the various incarnations and names of Singapore on early maps from the collection of the National Library.



Private Tours

Interested schools or organisations can email visitnls@nlb.gov.sg for more details on private tours. Book early to secure a tour slot!