Let's take a look at the stories behind these prominent historical buildings and make your next visit more knowledgeable too!
While Singapore may not have a very long history, glimpse of our heritage can be found around us with many prominent historical buildings converted into secondary uses or as museums.
We share details on some of these buildings, so that you can share them with your little ones the next time you visit.
National Gallery Singapore
Former: This was once where the former Supreme Court and City Hall resided.
Now: The National Gallery Singapore is one of our favourite (and one of the best) family-friendly museums with frequent refresh of its offerings for families. Within the museum is the Keppel Centre for Art Education, a fun and interactive venue for kids and the adults tagging along.
Read more about the building's history here.
Central Defence Heritage Gallery
Former: The distinctive red and white Central Fire Station, which houses the Central Defence Heritage Gallery, was built in 1909, it is Singapore's oldest and active fire station. The lookout tower was the tallest tower in Singapore until the 1930s and was used to spot smoke from fires until fire alarms were installed in 1915.
Now: The museum showcases the history of Singapore's fire-fighting and civil defence capabilities. You will also find olden fire trucks and equipment on display, and also find the Emergency Preparedness Centre, a venue with visual and interactive exhibits to impart emergency preparedness knowledge and skills to visitors.
Former Ford Factory
Former: The factory was the first motorcar assembly plant in Southeast Asia back in 1941, and was used by the Imperial Japanese Army as a military headquarters in World War 2. It is known as the site where the British forces surrendered to the Imperial Japanese Army in 1942.
Now: In 2004, the site was handed over to the National Archives of Singapore, and a recent revamp see a new permanent exhibit, Surviving the Japanese Occupation: War and It's Legacies, opening in 2017. The exhibition presents the events and memories surrounding war.
You may read more about the history here.
Former: Many of us may remember that the Fullerton Hotel used to be the General Post Office where mail was sorted to be delivered. Built in 1928, the building house several government offices. The use of the site can be traced back to 1829, where it was used as a military fort, Fort Fullerton, by British forces.
Now: Converted into a hotel in 2001, following a $300million renovation, the Fullerton Hotel is one of Singapore's most iconic landmarks and hotels. You may book a stay with a view that overlooks the Singapore Skyline or into the Marina Bay!
Read more about the hotel's history here.
Istana Kampung Glam
Former: Home to Malay royalty, Istana Kampung Glam was the private residence for the Sultan and his family since 1819 as part of the treaty signed with the British to set up Singapore as a British trading post.
Now: In 1999, the government announced plans to convert the former Istana into a Malay Heritage Centre to showcase the arts and cultural traditions of the Malay community. The centre often hosts events and activities for families on it's sprawling grounds.
Find our more about the history here.
Fort Canning Park
Former: Formerly known as Government Hill, it was home to the governors of Singapore in the early days of Singapore, and was used as a fort.
Now: Fort Canning Park feature 9 historical gardens, including the Jubilee Park and playground. It's lush, green spaces are also used for music festival and many other events too.
Photo Credits: Wikipedia
Former: Known as Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus (CHIJ), CHIJMES used to be Catholic convent.
Now: It is a lifestyle venue with lots of bars and restaurants. Families often visit for dinner at one of the many F&B establishments. The venue often holds different events and activities too.
Victoria Theatre & Victoria Concert Hall
Photo Credit: Victoria Theatre & Concert Hall
Former: Built between 1855 and 1862, the Victoria Theatre was built originally as a town hall. Victorial Concert Hall was built between 1902 and 1905, and was known as Victoria Memorial Hall. The Victoria Memorial Hall served as a makeshift hospital during World War II, and was a venue for war crimes after the war.
Now: Official home of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, the venue serves as a concert hall where many world-class performances and family-friendly theatre are hosted.
Old Hill Street Police Station
Photo Credits: roots.gov.sg
Former: A former police station and barracks erected in 1934, the building was the largest government building and regarded as a modern skyscraper at that time!
Now: Home to the Ministry of Culture, Community, Youth and Sports, the building has a total of 927 windows painted in the colours of the rainbow and is hard to miss from the streets!