If you grew up in Singapore, chances are you’ll have spent many a childhood afternoon hanging out at the local playground with the other kids, swinging from monkey bars or sliding down big, animal themed slopes. These days though, perhaps the only memories you have left of playgrounds are those that come in the form of hipster trinkets and furniture.
But if you ever wanted to relive your childhood in full, the National Museum’s latest exhibition has you covered, with The More We Get Together: Singapore’s Playgrounds 1930-2030 charting the history and planning behind our local playgrounds from start to even the future.
Developed in conjunction with the Housing and Development Board, The More We Get Together is a unique exhibition, itself taking the form of an interactive playground as it walks visitors through chronologically from past to present. The ground switches from ‘grass patches’ to ‘sand’ to ‘rubber’, with a sand box visitors can dig up to find interesting facts, and there’s even a miniature space net you can climb atop! And even in the ‘2030’ segment of the exhibition, visitors can design their very own playgrounds of the future, and get to play with re-imagined versions of present day playground equipment designed by SUTD students.
The biggest highlights of the exhibition though, would be the in-depth amount of archives and artifacts gathered in the space, ranging from early original playground blueprints and vintage photos depicting old Singapore. Not to mention, the many exclusive audio and visual interviews the museum has conducted with some of the original playground designers, such as with Mr Khor Ean Ghee, HDB’s first playground designer best known for designing the iconic Toa Payoh dragon playgrounds.
In conjunction with the exhibition, the museum truly is celebrating Children’s Season, and brings with it a new Rotunda exhibition. Titled The Dynamic Lines of Our Nest, the work was created by French artist Matali Crasset and acts as a toddler play space, where children and their parents can activate a giant contraption that allows the colourful ‘Casuarina tree’s’ branches to twist, turn and form hypnotic patterns, almost like a giant mobile.
Says exhibition co-curator Rachel Eng: “A lot of people don’t think of the stories behind these playgrounds, or even the people who designed these playgrounds. We wanted to bring these to the fore, and get people to start talking about what they think playgrounds could be like in the future as a communal space. Playgrounds have always been important as common gathering places, they’re something that are emblematic in a neighborhood, and represent this physical element of play, and act as a marker for people to remember their childhoods.”
Indeed, ‘the more we get together, the happier we’ll be’, and you can relive any number of nostalgic, childhood memories with the National Museum with families and friends, as you head on down and rediscover the joys and immense planning that has gone into creating these playgrounds, now and forever.
The More We Get Together: Singapore’s Playgrounds 1930 – 2030 runs till 30th September 2018 at the Stamford Gallery, National Museum of Singapore. Admission is free. For more information and the full list of programmes, visit their website here