President Halimah Yacob hailed Istana as a symbol of Singapore's independence and sovereignty on her first visit to the Istana Heritage Gallery on Friday, January 26.
She added that Istana can be considered a repository for Singaporean history and how it has evolved over the years. Initially, it was meant for the British Governor but now it stands for the country's proud history.
The Istana gallery is located at Istana Park along Orchard Road across the main gate of Istana. It was opened in 2016 and displays art pieces, artefacts of the state and gifts from the President's official residence.
Yacob said that although the gallery is not as big as others, it displays proper thought that has gone into its enhancement, to make it more exciting and interactive.
The Istana Heritage Gallery Challenge was also held during the President's visit, where students participate in quizzes about the place's heritage. The top three winners will get trophies and a book on Istana. Others will be awarded a certificate of participation and an Istana souvenir bookmark.
The competition runs for two weekends and about 228 students participate in it from primary and lower secondary levels in 19 schools.
Halimah also said that the gallery should not be visited by tourists only, instead more Singaporeans should display interest in learning about their culture and history. She hopes that the younger generation would be interested in the same and also bring along their friends and family members.
The Istana Heritage Gallery is a collaboration between the President's Office, the National Heritage Board, the National Library Board and the National Parks Board. The gallery's exhibition outlines its transition from being the Colonial Governor's House to the Official Residence of the President.
President Halimah Yacob has been working to make the Istana Gardens more accessible to common people by holding many community programmes, such as Volunteer Gardeners@Istana and Families for Life Picnic@Istana.