Changi Chapel and Museum reopens to revisit wartime Singapore (Photos)

·2 min read

A museum dedicated to tales of Singapore war heroes and survivors is reopening to the public after a major glow up.

Changi Chapel and Museum will reopen tomorrow after extensive renovations with more than 100 artifacts in eight galleries and chapel that retell riveting stories of the prisoners there during the three-year Japanese occupation that began in 1942. Located just several meters from Singapore’s main prison, the location used to be a barracks and camp housing about 10,000 mostly British and American prisoners of war.

The newly renovated space features the bare concrete cells of the Changi Gaol, murals and objects like a 400-page diary, a Kodak Baby Brownie camera, Christmas dinner menus, and handmade toothbrushes that once belonged to civilian internees of the old Changi prison camp. About a third of the items were donated or loaned from the descendants of internees.

“I hope that visitors will find that the new [facility] continues to honour the internees and find inspiration through their stories of courage and resilience, especially during these challenging, uncertain times,” Chung May Khuen, director of the National Museum of Singapore, said.

The museum takes visitors through the transformation of Changi across eight galleries that showcase historical objects and stories piecing together the history of the Changi neighborhood during the 19th century, its conversion into a prison camp with 48,000 soldiers and civilians marched in, and aftermath of Japan’s surrender in 1945.

Through the exhibits, visitors will be able to delve into the daily lives of the internees during their imprisonment, revisit the challenges they faced and their eventual liberation.

Immersive exhibits include a prison cell with built-in speakers that play recordings of prisoner conversations and a database of more than 50,000 in-depth war stories.

The revamped space also has a chapel that is sheltered with a glass and timber canopy. The wooden structures resemble the chapels that were built in the open during the war.

Entrance is free for Singapore citizens and permanent residents. Visitors are encouraged to book tickets online.

Entrance of the museum at Changi. Photo: Coconuts
Entrance of the museum at Changi. Photo: Coconuts
The chapel at the museum. Photo: Coconuts
The chapel at the museum. Photo: Coconuts
The back of the chapel. Photo: Coconuts
The back of the chapel. Photo: Coconuts
The Changi cross displayed in the chapel. Photo: Changi Chapel and Museum
The Changi cross displayed in the chapel. Photo: Changi Chapel and Museum
The Changi Gaol prison cell door. Photo: Coconuts
The Changi Gaol prison cell door. Photo: Coconuts
One of the five replicated biblical murals. Photo: Coconuts
One of the five replicated biblical murals. Photo: Coconuts
The Kodak Baby Brownie camera from the 1930s owned by former prisoner-of-war Sergeant John Ritchie Johnston. Photo: Coconuts
The Kodak Baby Brownie camera from the 1930s owned by former prisoner-of-war Sergeant John Ritchie Johnston. Photo: Coconuts
The Changi Quilts sewn by women prisoners. Photo: Coconuts
The Changi Quilts sewn by women prisoners. Photo: Coconuts
Zone 1 of the museum. Photo: Coconuts
Zone 1 of the museum. Photo: Coconuts

FIND IT
Changi Chapel and Museum
1000 Upper Changi Road North
9:30am to 5:30pm daily except Monday

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This article, Changi Chapel and Museum reopens to revisit wartime Singapore (Photos), originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.