NParks opens new Fort Canning Heritage Gallery and enhanced Spice Garden at Fort Canning Park
26 Aug 2022
- New heritage gallery showcases Fort Canning Park’s rich history through interactive displays
- Enhanced Spice Garden features new Spice Gallery highlighting Singapore’s spice history
- Launch of new book ‘Fort Canning Park: Heritage & Gardens’ documents history of Fort Canning Park
The National Parks Board (NParks) today opened a new Fort Canning Heritage Gallery and the enhanced Spice Garden which features a new Spice Gallery at Fort Canning Park, providing Singaporeans with refreshed recreational green spaces, and opportunities for the community to learn more about the history of Fort Canning Park. The opening was hosted by Minister for National Development Desmond Lee, who also launched a new book documenting the rich history of Fort Canning Park.
Preserving Singapore’s history at the Fort Canning Heritage Gallery
The Fort Canning Heritage Gallery traces more than 700 years of history to provide park visitors with an informative and in-depth overview of the rich heritage of Fort Canning Hill. The gallery is divided into five zones (an introduction zone and four themed zones) spread out over two levels of the south wing of Fort Canning Centre. Each zone is themed according to a particular aspect or role that the historic Fort Canning Hill played in the broader history of Singapore. The gallery features archaeological artefacts excavated from sites within Fort Canning Park and multiple digital interactive stations. Content from the Singapore Bicentennial centerpiece event in 2019 has also been repurposed into a cinematic experience in the gallery. Visitors can now watch a condensed version of the ‘From Singapore to Singaporean: The Bicentennial Experience’ video in a mini-theatrette at the gallery. A full set of the costume worn by actors playing Sang Nila Utama from the Singapore Bicentennial is also on display together with the film.
The gallery is free for the public and is open daily from 10.00am to 6.00pm. It is closed on the last Monday of the month for maintenance.
Enhanced Spice Garden with new Fort Canning Spice Gallery
Park goers can now explore the enhanced Spice Garden, which was one of nine historical gardens opened in 2019. The garden now comprises three zones – the existing Spice Garden area, Canning Rise which was pedestrianised in 2019, and the new Fort Canning Spice Gallery. The Spice Garden, which is now close to 3,200 square metres, features more than 180 varieties of plants, making it Singapore’s most diverse spice garden. These include significant herbs such as the Gambier (Uncaria gambir) and Pepper (Piper nigrum), which were the earliest commercial crops in Singapore, pre-dating the arrival of the British in Singapore. Spice trees such as the Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) and Clove (Syzygium aromaticum) are also featured in the Spice Gallery as they played an important role as the main commercial spice crops in Singapore in the early 19th century – particularly in Singapore’s first botanical and experimental garden founded in 1822, part of which was located where the Spice Garden is currently at.
The Spice Gallery comprises the former pedestrian ramp and underpass across Canning Rise, creatively optimising the use of existing space. It aims to share about the role of the spice trade in the history of Singapore, and the importance of Fort Canning Park in promoting Singapore as a spice trading and producing hub. Visitors can also learn more about the early history of spice plantations in Singapore, with replicas of a spice provision shop and local kopitiam (coffee shop) in the underpass section. The sheltered underpass also features an indoor gardening set-up with the use of grow lights, showcasing the use of technology in gardening.
The Fort Canning Spice Gallery is made possible with the support of Nomanbhoy & Sons Pte Ltd, through Garden City Fund, NParks’ registered charity and IPC. Nomanbhoy & Sons is a homegrown spice trading company with over 100 years of history. The gallery is free to the public and is open daily from 7.00am to 7.00pm.
Launch of new book – ‘Fort Canning Park: Heritage & Gardens’
A new book ‘Fort Canning Park: Heritage & Gardens’, was launched at the event, documenting the rich heritage and showcasing the design concept and beauty of each of the nine landscaped gardens of Fort Canning Park. It is available for purchase at the Gardens Shop at various locations around Singapore Botanic Gardens or on https://botanicgardensshop.sg/.
Over 140 Chinese ceramics displayed at The Gallery@L3, Fort Canning Centre
Members of the public can look forward to changing exhibitions and events at the new Gallery@L3. Located at Level 3 of the Fort Canning Centre, the 210-square meter space is also available for booking for corporate and private events. The Gallery@L3 presents its first exhibition in collaboration with the Society for Chinese Ceramics Studies (SCCS), ‘Kaleidoscope in Clay (I): Glazes and Forms through 5,000 years of Chinese Ceramics’. It showcases over 140 pieces of Chinese ceramics from SCCS members’ collection, including pieces dated to as early as more than 4,000 years ago. SCCS will also be organising a 12-lecture course on ‘A History of Chinese Ceramics’ in conjunction with the exhibition. This is the first time the SCCS has organised an exhibition of this scale.
The Exhibition Preview of selected exhibits of ‘Kaleidoscope in Clay (I) - Glazes and Forms through 5,000 years of Chinese Ceramics’ will run from 26 August to 11 September 2022. The full exhibition will open from 7 October 2022 to 10 February 2023. The second exhibition ‘Kaleidoscope in Clay (II)’ focusing on Song and Yuan Ceramics will continue from 24 February to 30 June 2023. All exhibitions are open to public, and admission is free.
The opening of the new Fort Canning Heritage Gallery and the enhanced Spice Garden is held in conjunction with the Singapore Night Festival. As such, the Fort Canning Heritage Gallery will extend its opening hours till 10.00pm on 26 and 27 August 2022. Members of the public can look forward to exciting programmes from Festival at the Fort such as movie screenings, guided tours, game tours and children’s craft activities.
The new Fort Canning Heritage Gallery and the enhanced Spice Garden are part of NParks’ efforts for the second phase of the Fort Canning Park Masterplan. Renovation of existing buildings at Foothills has been completed together with a F&B outlet. Enhancements to the playground at Jubilee Park will commence in 2023. These enhancements will offer a variety of recreational options to park users, providing spaces for respite and bringing Singaporeans closer to greenery in our City in Nature.
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