How will COVID-19 be remembered? A joint COVID-19 collection drive by the National Library Board (NLB) and the National Museum of Singapore (NMS) from 22 May to 31 December 2020 is calling for individuals, communities and organisations to contribute materials that document experiences of the pandemic in Singapore. This project aims to capture a fuller picture of life during these times, add to the nation’s history and archives, and enrich future generations’ understanding of this extraordinary period. NLB and NMS will explore future possibilities of presenting the collection.
Documenting COVID-19 in Singapore
Through this joint public call for materials, ‘Documenting COVID-19 in Singapore’, NLB and NMS seek to engage the public to capture a key historical moment as it unfolds. It is part of efforts to build the nation’s contemporary collection, and to collect today’s history for tomorrow. Doing so will enable us to preserve and present a more complete and richer picture of life in Singapore during COVID-19 for future generations.
Documenting COVID-19 in Singapore supplements NLB’s broader collecting efforts for COVID-19. Since February this year, NLB has been archiving websites and television broadcasts, as well as collecting photographs and ephemera related to the COVID-19, documenting how Singapore has been managing the pandemic. Our staff have also collected more than 1,000 photographs before the circuit breaker.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented event in Singapore’s and in the world’s history. Our ‘Documenting COVID-19 in Singapore’ collection drive invites the community to work with us to develop a collection that documents this national experience. We will preserve these collective memories and contributions so that our daily lives during this period can be remembered in the future,” said Ng Cher Pong, Chief Executive Officer of the National Library Board.
For NMS, this is part of its ongoing efforts under its ‘Collecting Contemporary Singapore’ project that documents significant moments in Singapore’s recent and contemporary history, through the collection of objects and stories that capture people’s lived experiences. From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the museum’s curators have been keeping a close watch on developments, and documenting important objects and stories that capture the sentiment and experiences of life in Singapore during COVID-19.
Chung May Khuen, Director, National Museum of Singapore, said, “As the National Museum, we seek to capture and show how defining moments in our lives, like the COVID-19 pandemic, have affected life in Singapore in one way or another. We invite everyone to share with us their personal perspectives and key objects that tell important stories of COVID-19. These contributions of contemporary Singapore will help build our National Collection further and allow future generations to learn about our shared history more vividly.”
What can one contribute to this project?
The following questions help to guide members of the public on what they can contribute for this project:
1. DAILY LIFE DURING COVID-19
We hope to document what life during this pandemic and the circuit breaker period in Singapore has been like, and what home (in a physical or symbolic sense) means to you in a time of COVID-19:
2. EVERYDAY HEROES OF COVID-19
We want to capture the stories and experiences of those at the frontlines of Singapore’s fight against COVID-19 and who are working to keep our essential services going. If your life has been touched by an everyday hero, or acts of kindness at this time, we would love to hear your stories as well. Everyday heroes include medical professionals, volunteers, social service professionals, essential service staff, as well as groups and individuals that have helped the community tide over this period.
Through this latest public call for materials and objects, NLB and NMS hope to engage everyone, including healthcare professionals, essential service staff, teachers, parents, community groups and organisations. We are also keen to support organisations and communities with an interest in documenting COVID-19 or who are already working on a similar project.
Format of materials to be contributed
Submission links & contact information
NLB has set up a dedicated webpage (https://go.gov.sg/documenting-covid19) for members of the public to submit their contributions.
Please refer to Appendix A for contribution guidelines. For more information, visit www.nlb.gov.sg.
For further queries, please contact NLB at NLB_Document_Covid19@nlb.gov.sg.
With these public contributions, NLB and NMS will explore possibilities of presenting the collection in the future. Relevant contributions may also be featured in future exhibitions presented by NMS, including an upcoming exhibition – “Home, Truly: Growing up with Singapore, 1950s to the Present”. As the museum is currently closed in adherence to the circuit breaker measures, the curatorial team will get in touch at an appropriate time to follow up on suitable submissions.
About National Library Board
The National Library Board (NLB) nurtures Readers for Life, Learning Communities and a Knowledgeable Nation by promoting reading, learning and history through its network of 26 public libraries, the National Library and the National Archives of Singapore. NLB also forges strategic partnerships that encourage awareness, appreciation and greater discovery of Singapore’s history through its rich collections on Singapore and the region.
NLB achieves excellence through innovation, focusing on citizen engagement and co-creation, resource and digital innovation. This creates learning opportunities, greater access to library resources, services and archival collections, as well as a continual development of innovative library spaces. Established on 1 September 1995 as a statutory board, NLB is under the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI).
For more information, please visit the NLB website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.
For media enquiries on the National Library and National Library Board, please contact:
Tel: 9223 2570
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: 9187 8530
About the National Museum of Singapore
With a history dating back to 1887, the National Museum of Singapore is the nation’s oldest museum with a progressive mind. Its galleries adopt cutting-edge and multi-perspective ways of presenting history and culture to redefine conventional museum experience. A cultural and architectural landmark in Singapore, the Museum hosts innovative festivals and events all year round—the dynamic Night Festival, visually arresting art installations, as well as amazing performances and film screenings—in addition to presenting thought-provoking exhibitions involving critically important collections of artefacts. The programming is supported by a wide range of facilities and services including F&B, retail and a Resource Centre. The National Museum of Singapore re-opened in December 2006 after a three-year redevelopment. It refreshed its permanent galleries and re-opened them in September 2015 for Singapore’s Golden Jubilee. In 2017, it celebrated its 130th anniversary. For more details, please visit www.nationalmuseum.sg.
For media enquiries on the National Museum of Singapore, please contact:
 Home, Truly: Growing Up with Singapore, 1950s to the Present
Opening in second half of 2020
Home, Truly is a photographic exhibition presented in collaboration with The Straits Times. Featuring photos, artefacts and digital initiatives, the exhibition explores moments and experiences in Singapore’s history from the 1950s onwards that express our identity and collective memory as Singaporeans. With the aim of encouraging reflection and dialogue on what it means to be Singaporean, this exhibition will also include opportunities for the public to contribute photos and share their stories.