Honour the passion and commitment of Singapore's resilience freedom fighters at the Changi Museum. Catch a glimpse of Allied troops and prisoners during the dark years of World War II, with tales of how prisoners and internees persevered amid harrowing adversity and how they tried to keep both hope and themselves alive. Be inspired by the story of the human spirit embedded in the lives of these people.
The Japanese Occupation may have been a tale of the cruelty of human nature for many; a tale of how innocent people were placed in inhuman conditions of overcrowding and malnutrition. However, the Museum paints an inspirational picture for future generations with a deeper appreciation for the war that had already been fought for them.
Changi Museum moved to its current location from the outside of Changi Prison in 1991. It contains the Changi Prison memorial, a replica POW chapel, as well as artefacts, paintings and drawings from the days of imprisonment and Prisoner-Of-War (POW) camps to bring history alive.
Built in 1936 to hold only 450 prisoners, it was only after the Japanese successfully occupied Singapore in 1942 that 3 500 civilians, comprising men, women and children, were interred in the prison. Those who survived two years were eventually moved to Sime Road Camp in 1944. By 5th September 1945, there were about 17 000 former POWs in the prisons. What's left of the prison, since it was demolished five years ago, is the main gate and the western curtain wall, which have since become memorials.
Despite the horrible conditions that the prisoners lived in, a beacon of hope was found in the chapel that the prisoners had built. After the war, the chapel was taken to Australia but, upon the request of former POWs as well as their friends and relatives, a replica POW chapel was built here. Make a trip down to the chapel to witness the resourcefulness of the internees, who built the chapel entirely out of wood and attap, or attend a church service on Sundays. Spend a silent moment reflecting on the plight of the internees at that time.
Revisit old pictures, artifacts and audio visual displays recreating the events that occurred in the prison and reconstruct the experience in your mind. Check out the sketches by W.R.M Haxworth, replicas of the murals by Bombardier Stanley Warren in St Luke's Chapel and photos taken secretly by George Aspinall, who were all POWs imprisoned there.
Admission is free.