Changi Chapel
Changi Chapel Wikimedia Commons

The Changi Chapel and Museum is going to be closed in stages for redevelopment work, starting from April 2. It is set to open doors again in 2020.

The museum will remain closed to the public from April 2, whereas the chapel will shut doors on January 1, 2019. This is the first redevelopment work in the Changi Chapel and Museum of this scale in above 15 years.

According to National Museum of Singapore director Angelita Teo, the closure will be to repair the ravages of time on the structure which has been operating for more than 15 years. The site, located at Upper Changi Road, displays Singapore's history during the Second World War.

After the redevelopment, visitors will be able to see new displays and offerings that depict stories of Changi's history. The National Museum currently showcases personal stories of Singapore people during World War II. Exhibitions such as Reflections at Bukit Chandu, the Former Ford Factory, etc, present the overall story of Singapore's involvement in the Second World War as well its aftermath on the country.

The redevelopment work will be undertaken by the National Museum under the National Heritage Board (NHB) as the museum focuses on Singapore's proud heritage. The work will be done through a one-year contract signed between NHB and the Changi Museum last March.

NHB and Singapore History Consultants, a private firm that specializes in heritage education and research consultancy, have issued a joint statement saying that the museum has received international acclaims for its "sensitive and poignant portrayal of the war years."

Changi Prison exhibit in Changi Museum
Changi Prison exhibit in Changi Museum Chnagi Museum website

Fans of the site can enjoy their last glimpse of the place until 2020 as the authorities are giving a 50 percent discount on audio tours on the following dates: February 16 to 18, February 23 to 25 and March 2 to 4.

Apart from this, visitors will also get a 50 percent on the three-hour war trail bus tour, Changi WWII, on March 27, 29 and 31. In the new four-hour trail 'From Changi to Kranji', visitors will see the Changi Museum and Chapel as a point of reference, although they will not be able to view the displays inside.

While the chapel and museum remain closed, people will miss the "sensitive and poignant portrayal of the war years in Singapore". As SHC Director Jeya Ayadurai says, "The mission of the museum has been threefold: to recognise the contributions and sacrifices of all who defended Singapore during World War II, to honour the spirit and commitment of those who rose from the depths of adversity, and to inspire future generations through the sharing of stories of courage and resilience."

The museum has also been involved in research work with other museums, organizations, and families of prisoners of war in the entire world. It has till date provided solace and closure to several civilian internees and their families, says the statement. It also holds seminars, programmes, and events to get people involved in their country's history and the difficult time it saw during the war-ravaged years.