The rejuvenated Chinatown Heritage Centre officially opened last week to unveil a refreshed visitor experience that tells a richer story of Chinatown’s evolution from its early days as a Chinese migrant settlement to today’s vibrant heritage precinct.
Visitors to the Centre can expect a more comprehensive Chinatown story narrative that goes beyond the 1960s, more in-depth collection of personal stories from the Chinatown community, deeper exploration of Chinatown’s multi-ethnicity, clan associations, nightlife and heritage businesses, and enhanced multi-sensory features in the form of soundscapes, multimedia content, interactive story panels, olfactory experience and mood lighting. These will be complemented by a line-up of immersive tours and events.
The Centre, which underwent rejuvenation in October 2014, was officially reopened by Mr S Iswaran, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry). The rejuvenation aims to strengthen the Centre’s content and presentation style since it first opened in 2002, so as to better bring alive the precinct’s heritage. It will be operated by Chinatown Heritage Centre Pte Ltd, a consortium between Singapore River Cruise, Journeys, and Splash Entertainment.
Mr Kenneth Lim, Director of Cultural Precincts Development, Singapore Tourism Board (STB) says: “As Chinatown evolves and increasingly discerning visitors seek more authentic and in-depth experiences, we saw the need to rejuvenate the Chinatown Heritage Centre to reflect the dynamic nature of the precinct, including that of a new generation that is continuing the legacy of their forefathers. We hope that the Centre will be a living interpretive centre that will inspire visitors to explore the precinct at a deeper level, and for the locals to gain a deeper appreciation of their heritage.”
The Centre will also host a regular line-up of temporary exhibitions and community events in a new exhibition gallery and event space, as part of STB’s vision for the Centre to be a key platform for community engagement. The first exhibition, by a group of final-year students from Nanyang Technological University’s Wee Kim Wee School of Communication & Information, features the Chinese New Year customs and traditions of the various dialect groups. The exhibition runs till March 8, 2016, and is part of My “Father Tongue”, a social campaign that aims to revitalise the use of dialects among youths.
Visitors can also look forward to tours led by guides acting as iconic characters of Chinatown, such as a Samsui Woman or Trishaw Rider.
Mr Png Yiow Beng Director on Board of Directors, Chinatown Heritage Centre Pte Ltd,, says: “Chinatown Heritage Centre is the first step for visitors to discover Chinatown, and the collective expertise between Singapore River Cruise, Journeys and Splash Entertainment in heritage and tourism will ensure well-curated programmes and tours for visitors. I also look forward to working with the local community to create memorable experiences for locals and tourists.”
To mark the official reopening of Chinatown Heritage Centre and encourage locals to visit the Centre along with their families, seniors (Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents aged 60 and above) can enjoy free admission for the first six months till July 31, 2016. Thereafter, they will enjoy special concession rates for admission and tours.