The colourful past of Chinatown comes alive within the walls of these three beautifully-restored shophouses along Pagoda Street, comfortably nestled in the midst of Singapore's bustling Chinatown district. Every nook and cranny in the Chinatown Heritage Centre pulsates with the memories of yesteryear, offering an experience like no other, as one is transported to Chinatown in the budding years of Singapore's establishment as a seaport. From the desperate hopefulness of the many sinkheh (migrants) risking life and limb to embark on an arduous journey from various Chinese provinces to the promised land of Singapore, to the raw, seedy and underground practices of gambling dens and secret societies, be prepared to experience a sense of nostalgia and sentimentality as you step into the pages of Chinatown's history. The Chinatown Heritage Centre is the only place in Singapore that has recreated the original interiors of its shophouse tenants in the 1950s, offering visitors an honest, revealing glimpse into the lives of Chinatown's early residents.
Chinatown Heritage Centre Hot
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Integral to preserving Singapore’s history.
Whenever we visited Chinatown, my grandmother used to tell me stories about its past and how times have changed. Visiting the Chinatown Heritage Centre, I imagined my grandma working hard as a samsui woman and was filled with a sense of admiration for her - for all the early settlers and their strength.
Through exhibitions featuring everyday conditions that the early settlers faced, it concretized an image of the treacherous journeys that our forefathers had to endure and the cramped conditions that they had to suffer. I left the museum feeling thankful for the comparatively comfortable life I lead.
The museum truly brought my grandmother’s stories to life and allowed me to understand and appreciate the background of this part of Singapore.
Chinatown Heritage - A heritage not to be missed
Chinatown Heritage is located in a restored shophouse in Pagoda Street. It is a showcase of the settlement of Singapore’s early immigrants – the struggles they faced in order to maintain their livelihood. We get to learn about the chronicles of the events that had happened in their early days & many secrets unknown to us were also revealed here. We will also get to appreciate their contributions to Singapore, knowing the hardships that they had gone through, their perseverance & their strong fighting spirit as we walk through the exhibition.
If you have not visited this place, you should. Bring your children along, they will benefit greatly.
* Check out for their guided tour at the museum
若您还未参观这景点, 您真应该去参观参观. 带着您的孩子去, 他们会受益不浅.
This is the place to go
For my money, this place is a must. When you next wander down Pagoda Street, visit this small museum set in a triple shop house complex half way down the street from the MRT. Every corner is fascinating. You really travel back in time, vividly. You experience the incredible hardships of the Chinese who emigrated from China, undertaking voyages of incredible hardship, to find a better life.
Not all of them made it. View the sections of opium dens and wonder how and why people could live like this? And then ask yourself why the British encouraged its use. Interesting stuff.
Look at the tiny and cramped conditions under which many lived and ask yourself, how can?
They have recreated the original interiors of the old shophouse sand the conditions under which so many had to live. And it’s not all ancient history. Slavery was not abolished when they said it was. It was replaced by indentured labour. Now they have maids and even foreign workers. Nothing really ever changes.
This place will make you think. For me, three visits and counting.
Once is enough
I have been to Chinatown Heritage Centre during countless of camps and school field trips, so much that I am quite sick of it. One visit is definitely enough to appreciate what the Centre has to offer.
Granted, it is interesting enough on your first visit because it showcases the history of the Chinese living in Singapore back in the old days. You can see what it was like to live as a coolie and take a glimpse on how prostitutes operated in the past. It is especially interesting if you are a Chinese Singaporean, because you are able to see how your forefathers toiled to make a living for themselves, and secure a brighter future for their descendants.
Go there often enough, and you will find the place absolutely boring because the exhibitions are stagnant and remain the same. For foreigners, this would make an informative visit but for locals, go once and never go back again until many years later if you wish.
An enchanting experience
It's hard to miss the Chinatown Heritage Centre when you stroll around Chinatown. The last time I've been to the gallery was ages ago. It was during a Primary School trip. I remembered being uninterested and feeling bored. After all, a 12 year old kid would rather ride a cable car than visiting a gallery with a 1950s history. Now that I'm older, I've learnt to apprciate Singapore's culture and heritage.
My favourite part of the gallery is the Vices station. It was an eye-opening experience to observe life in early Singapore. Some things just doesn't change... Likewise, the Cubicle Living section was enthralling. People who love culture should absolutely visit this place.
Aside from that, you should also make sure to check out the souvenir shop. It offers a charming variety of gifts, products and items which you will surely love to give to your friends and relatives. If you need help, free feel to let the staff know, they'll be gladly to help you out.
worth a visit for foreigners
In this little store, the Chinatown Heritage Centre is packed with several levels and rooms of Chinese history.
For a fee, people are able to enter to view items from the past. I went with my friends, just for fun and a meal. We were able to touch the items and pose to take photos with them. It featured the dining room, bedroom, and several aspects of the Chinese tradition.
There is a small restaurant at the Chinatown Heritage Centre. The lighting of the eating area can be a little creepy, although some may consider it romantic. The food tastes average, and is quite expensive for the regular price.
It will be a better place for foreigners to visit, but it would be nice to visit it once for locals as well, just for a look. The store sells small collectables at its store front as well, which are affordable as a small gift or souvenir. The place is a little dusty and dirty though, but acceptable.