Discover Iconic Technology Of The Past At The National Museum of Singapore

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Explore how everyday technological tools changed and shaped the lives of Singaporeans from the 1970s to 2000s at the latest exhibition in the National Museum of Singapore. 

Venue: National Museum of Singapore, Exhibition Gallery, Basement Level
Dates: 10 Jun - 30 Oct 2022, 10 am - 7 pm daily
Admission: Free for Singaporeans, PRs and Children below 6 years old, $18 (standard)

Get a glimpse of the era that predates smart devices in the National Museum of Singapore‚Äôs¬†latest experiential showcase, Off / On: Everyday Technology that Changed Our Lives,¬†1970s‚Äď2000s, and be transported back to a time where gadgets such as pagers, payphones¬†and typewriters were among the technologies that were widely used.

Themed Installations With Interactive Elements

Off / On invites families into uniquely themed installations that are inspired by common spaces found in the 1970s to 1990s, including a hair salon, coffeeshop and office space set. Each space features a specially curated selection of ubiquitous technological icons of that era, with interactive elements that invite you to discover and experience how these technologies transformed and made an indelible mark on our everyday life.

Show the kids what it was like to make a call via a cord-phone, check the weather on teletext, or to even use coded msges on pagers! 

Themed Space 1: Work in Progress

Upon entering the showcase, families will be transported to an workplace where instead of computers, you will find typewriters. Much care has been put into the space, Work In Progress, including a "view" of a very different Raffles Place, productivity posters of yester-years and more. 

Let the little ones interact with tactile elements such as typing on a typewriter and viewing the early models of computers by IBM and Apple, giving visitors a taste of what a day in the office was like then.

Themed Space 2: Hello Mobile

Moving from computers to handheld gadgets, the next section, Hello Mobile, explores the use of telecommunication tools that predate the smartphones of today.

In the late 1980s, telephones and other personal devices such as pagers became more accessible, allowing people in Singapore to contact one another more conveniently, even if it meant having to wait in line to return a call using a payphone.

Parents will feel nostalgic reliving the experience of using some of these gadgets from the past, within the familiar local settings of a hair salon and coffeeshop. These include picking up telephone receivers to listen to re-enacted nostalgic conversations of daily experiences and trying to send messages with larger-than-life interactives modelled after a handphone or pager - do you remember having to press a number multiple times to get an alphabet or the coded numerical messages that we used to send? 

Themed Space 3: The Art of Living

The Art of Living, outlines how the influx of consumer technology transformed the lifestyles of Singaporeans. Many of us where probably young when home entertainment gadgets like the colour TV, radio cassette players and game consoles were first introduced into homes, allowing us the convenience of enjoying entertainment within the comforts and privacy of our homes. 

Switch the channels on the installation of television sets from the past, and toggle between and view a selection of nostalgic local television programmes, commercials and re-created Teletext messages.

Themed Space 4: Game On

The next section, Game On, looks back at how gaming became more prevalent as a source of entertainment, especially in the 1980s, with the increasing popularity of video games. 

The design of this section takes inspiration from the once-popular handheld series of games known as the Tomy Pocketeer, which typically required players to guide a ball bearing in and around obstacles. You can play the available digital games for a chance to be featured on the leader board.

Expand Your Experience With The Digital Companion

At each themed space, families can access digital and gamification elements¬†via a digital companion on their mobile devices. Simply¬†visit to sign up for an¬†account and generate a unique QR code. Scan the code at the stations to start playing games such as the ‚ÄėFastest Typist‚Äô game, as well as¬†a pop quiz that challenges players to decode numerical pager messages.

The digital component will also provide bonus educational content which will
complement their learning experience at the showcase. Players who successfully complete all the assigned activities in the digital companion can stand a chance to win prizes through a lucky draw that will be conducted at the end of the showcase period. 

Night-Time Escape Room

Off / On also transforms into an escape room at night, where visitors can pre-register in groups of minimally 3 and up to 10 participants each time, to explore the showcase space through the popular and interactive format of an escape room game.

Participants will ‚Äújourney‚ÄĚ through time in the gallery to decipher clues that will help¬†uncover a secret technological device that can help prevent a mass shutdown of the world‚Äôs¬†technology.

The escape room experience is available on selected Friday and Saturday evenings from 17 June 2022. Participants will be given 30 minutes to complete the game.

Ticketing & Dates

Off / On: Everyday Technology that Changed Our Lives, 1970s‚Äď2000s, runs from¬†10 June to 30 October 2022 at the museum's¬†Exhibition Gallery, Basement Level

Off / On is a ticketed showcase, where Singaporeans and Singapore permanent residents can enjoy free admission.

Visitors are encouraged to pre-book their museum admission tickets for this ticketed show ahead of their visit. The escape room activity will be charged separately from the showcase.


  • Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents and Children 6 years and below (any nationality): Free
  • Tourist & Foreign Residents: $18 (adult), $14 (concession)

Escape Room

  • Groups of 3 - 6: $15 per person
  • Groups of 7 - 10: $10 per person


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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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