Curiocity: Places & Perspectives - Discover & Engage With Singapore's History

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Curiocity invites you to discover, learn and engage with our island’s history through the content and collections from the National Library Board and its partners.

Venue: National Library Building \ Civic District
Dates: 3 Jan - 3 Feb 2021
Admission: Free

The National Library Board (NLB) launches Curiocity, an initiative which spotlights various facets of Singapore’s history that may have been hidden in plain sight across the country. Everyone is invited to discover and engage with Singapore’s history through a series of creative installations, treasure hunts and talks for all ages, complemented by a digital storytelling website.

Curiocity aims to inspire greater appreciation of Singapore identity and heritage by eliciting a sense of curiosity and wonder of the country’s hidden stories.  It is the first of many initiatives that NLB will be rolling out in the coming months as part the Singapore Storytellers role under NLB’s LAB25 (Libraries and Archives Blueprint 2025). LAB25 is NLB’s five-year journey to reimagine libraries and archives of the future.

Downtown Singapore Over The Decades

Downtown Singapore is home to several iconic sites that have evolved over the decades. Discover the island’s vibrant and lesser known past through this showcase. Don’t miss seeing these spaces in a different light this new year!

Encore In The City

3 January – 3 February 2022 (closed on 1 & 2 February)
The Plaza, National Library Building

Entertainment landmarks from our past return for an encore in this interactive installation that will spark new perspectives. Weave your way through colourful nooks and crannies, pockets and portals to uncover six old icons of Singapore’s entertainment scene and see our entertainment culture in a new light today. 

Psychic Cinema 2065

14 January – 3 February 2022 (closed on 1 & 2 February)
The Plaza, National Library Building

Psychic Cinema 2065 explores an alternative cinema of the future through an immersive audio-visual installation that reimagines the former Jubilee Theatre. This installation reframes the cinematic experience by disorientating a key sense associated with it — sight. Employing light sequences and a soundscape featuring audio samples of heritage material from Singapore’s golden age of film, viewers conceive a unique film only they can ‘see’.

Lights Around The Civic District

Check out the Curiocity installations in the Civic District during the Light to Night Festival 2022. Explore our history through new, creative works by our local artists.

The River Connects

14 January – 3 February 2022
Level 2 Foyer, Asian Civilisations Museum

An immersive media installation, The River Connects highlights the bridges along the Singapore River and explores the possibilities of human connection on and by the river — an organic phenomenon that can span mobility, commerce and social interactions.

Inspired by this notion, The River Connects references the many ways of connecting through a collection of archival and 3D scanned images of the bridges. It presents the stories they hold in an interactive and experiential format, while giving the audience new perspectives of sights both familiar and yet distant.

A Tessellation of Memories

14 January – 3 February 2022
Play Den, The Arts House

A Tessellation of Memories is a reflective journey into our city’s past, piecing together forgotten places from our history. Immerse yourself in an imaginative realm and revisit six locales lost to time and the inevitability of progression, before emerging in the present.


14 January – 3 February 2022
Queen Elizabeth Walk, Esplanade Park

LUMBA is an interactive light installation inspired by the small sailing boats in kolek lumba — a sea sport once held during the New Year Regatta in the Civic District between the 19th and early 20th centuries. Featuring five standing sculptures modelled after the boats, this creation invites all to observe how the sails billow in sync with the wind. When night falls, viewers can walk through the spaces between the structures and see how their movements affect the dancing of light along their frames to evoke a celebratory mood.

Embark on Curiocity Treasure Hunts Across Singapore 

24 January – 10 April 2922

  • Kampong Glam: 24 Jan – 13 Feb
  • Yishun: 21 Feb – 13 Mar
  • Punggol: 21 Mar – 10 Apr

To encourage Singaporeans to discover the country and its history, the interactive Curiocity Treasure Hunts will guide participants on a journey across old and new districts in Singapore from 24 January to 10 April 2022 – Kampong Glam, Yishun and Punggol – to unravel the stories about our past, present and future as a nation through NLB’s resources.

Learn about the history and significance of the Malay Heritage Centre in Istana Kampong Glam, the seat and historic home of the Malay royalty in Singapore. You can also pick up some interesting facts about Punggol and Yishun - did you know that there were two zoos in Punggol, and that Nee Soon Village in Yishun was called Chan Chu Kang (or Jia Chui Kang) around the early 1920s?

To join the Treasure Hunt and win up to $1,000 worth of vouchers, simply borrow physical books or eBooks to earn points and get clues through the NLB Mobile app. You can solve the clues by deep-diving into the Curiocity storymaps and discovering interesting articles, photos and videos.

Tours, Workshops and Online Talks

In addition to the Curiocity showcase, there will be physical and online programmes in different formats – such as in-person tours, workshops and online talks. Check out the programmes lined up online and at various venues - register to secure your spot. 

The Curiocity Website

NLB’s Curiocity initiatives are complemented by a refreshed Curiocity website.  It leverages story maps, or place-based digital storytelling, to provide patrons an interactive and immersive way to uncover and rediscover the history of Singapore through a curated selection of heritage materials from the collections of the National Library (NL) and the National Archives of Singapore (NAS). 

The Bras Basah Bugis storymaps in particular, share the history of Bras Basah and Bugis from multiple perspectives through food, entertainment and learning.



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This article is prepared by

Jiarong Yu
Daddy to 2 adorable little ones. Misses them the moment they are not around, regrets missing them the moment they are around.

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