Singapore, 23 March 2016 – A Scottish merchant’s residence; a colonial Court House; the
Republic’s first Parliament House; Singapore’s 27th National Monument, and, finally, The
Arts House – the multi-disciplinary arts centre it is today. Also fondly remembered by many
as the Old Parliament House, The Arts House has served multiple roles in its almost 200-
2 Today, it stands as Singapore’s oldest government and public building, and is most
recognised for its role as Singapore’s first Parliament House from 1965 to 1999. Within its
Chamber was where Singapore’s first Parliament sat, debated, and passed the laws that
helped build and define our nation. The rich history of the building, and more, are chronicled
and remembered through a new exhibition titled, The Parliament in Singapore History.
3 Launched at The Arts House earlier today by Guest-of-Honour Prime Minister Lee
Hsien Loong, and Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Ms Grace Fu, The Parliament
in Singapore History exhibition presents a fresh narrative of the historic building, and charts
its history from 1827 to 1999, as well as the defining moments and milestones of
Singapore’s Parliament. Opened to the public from 24 March 2016, the exhibition is
presented by The Arts House, with support from the Ministry of Culture, Community and
Youth, and National Heritage Board.
The Parliament in Singapore History Exhibition
4 The Parliament in Singapore History features critical historical milestones, presented
chronologically. They are: Colonial Court House; The Road to Rendel; Struggle for SelfRule;
Self-Rule to Merger; “A Moment of Anguish”; Parliament in Progress; and Milestones
of Parliament. The exhibition captures the spirit of our early nation-building days, and the
values and principles for which our Parliament stand for, such as meritocracy, justice, multiracialism,
and integrity. These values are entrenched in the memorable speeches delivered
in Parliament by our pioneer leaders such as Singapore’s founding Prime Minister Mr Lee
Kuan Yew, Dr Toh Chin Chye, Dr Goh Keng Swee and Mr S Rajaratnam. Accompanying
these quotes in the exhibition are rare archival images that help illustrate the spirit and
values of our Parliament through the years.
5 The exhibition also highlights the development of a legislature that has contributed to
Singapore’s growth and progress as a multi-cultural parliamentary democracy. For instance,
one of the Parliament’s first acts was to form a constitutional commission, whose proposals
led to the establishment of the Presidential Council for Minority Rights, which scrutinises new
legislation for clauses that may discriminate against any minority.
6 Ms Lee Chor Lin, Chief Executive Officer of Arts House Limited said: “This exhibition
presents in great succinct detail the long history of the Old Parliament House, which has
since 2004 become a multipurpose space dedicated to the arts. Itself a reflection of
Singapore history, this building has weathered the tide of time, and grown together with
Singaporeans. I hope the exhibition will help visitors to remember the spirit and tenacity of
our generation of pioneer leaders, and better understand the key role of our Parliament. The
oldest public building in Singapore, the building of The Arts House was where critical
historical events took place, and where the House played an important role in the growth of
7 Visitors to the exhibition will also be able to view a special documentary clip featuring
excerpts of founding Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s memorable speeches delivered in
Parliament, in the Chamber of The Arts House from 24 March to 31 March 2016. Guided
tours of the exhibition will be available from 24 March to 29 May 2016.
Venue: Level 2, The Arts House (1 Old Parliament Lane, Singapore 179429)
Dates: Opens to the public from Thursday, 24 March 2016
Time: 10am to 10pm daily
The Arts House is presenting a fresh narrative of the varied career path of its building. This new narrative display charts the history of The Arts House from 1827 to 1999. View the story of a house that has witnessed the birth of a nation as well as the development of a legislature that has contributed to Singapore’s growth and progress as a multi-cultural parliamentary democracy.
Through rare archival images and spoken words of pioneer Parliamentarians such as Singapore’s founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, Dr Goh Keng Swee and Mr S Rajaratnam, the exhibition captures the spirit of our nation-building journey. The oldest government and public building in the Republic, the most significant years of The Arts House must have been those between 1965 and 1999. During this period, this neoclassical colonial building was the seat of independent Singapore’s Parliament, where important historical milestones were planted. Here, our political pioneers and nation builders deliberated key issues that were to chart the path of Singapore’s development, and to define the style of our politics.
Exhibition guided tours Guided tours of the exhibition are available from 24 March to 29 May 2016. The tours are on a first-come-first-served basis, no registration is required. Each tour can accommodate a maximum of 20 participants (including children).
Tour schedule as follows: Dates Time Type Remarks 24, 25, 26 & 27 March 2016 (Opening weekend) 11am
Family tours are generally geared towards families with children 10 years and below. The tour will have pop quizzes and family team challenges. 1pm & 3pm
Every Saturday and Sunday from 2 April to 29 May 2016 11am Family Tour 1pm
More information on the tours can be found on www.theartshouse.sg.
Source: www.nhb.gov.sg News Release 23 Mar 2016