Objects For Families Digital Programmes

Back to Our Future: 250 Years of Observing and Documenting Nature in Singapore

by Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

This photo essay will feature significant animals, plants and places that are signifiers of the natural heritage of Singapore from 250 years ago in the form of visual materials with text to provide context and tie these into the larger natural history of the island.

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48A_Our Oldest Heritage - 250 Years of Observing and Documenting Nature in SG 1

Travel back in time 250 years ago, as we bring you on a journey in the form of a travel narrative which uses visual materials (including specimen photographs, maps and paintings) to illustrate some of the important points  in Singapore’s natural history and why it continues to matter. Step into the shoes of renowned explorers like Christopher Smith and Isabella Bird while holding onto a chart that shows how the offshore islands of Singapore were recorded during the late 1700s. Together with the earliest extant natural history specimens collected from Singapore in the 1790s, you will understand the efforts taken  to catalogue and categorise the island’s natural heritage through observations, drawings and specimens. With this context in place, visual materials of some important and iconic animals, plants and areas in Singapore are used to illustrate the natural heritage of the island.

48B_Our Oldest Heritage - 250 Years of Observing and Documenting Nature in SG 2

48C_Our Oldest Heritage - 250 Years of Observing and Documenting Nature in SG 3

Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

The Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum is Singapore’s only natural history museum, and a leading institution in Southeast Asian biodiversity research, education, and outreach. 

Located at the National University of Singapore, over a million biological specimens, artefacts, field notes, drawings, and photographs from Southeast Asia are housed in its iconic rock-shaped building.

Other fascinating stories & events…

An International Flower, For An International City

The orchid is commonly known by Singaporeans as our national flower - Vanda Miss Joaquim. While many countries have national flowers too, the orchid is more than a national flower in Singapore’s case. It is also a tool used in Singapore’s diplomatic relations. This essay explores this little-known aspect of our natural heritage.


Artist and photographer Ernest Goh, as part of his residency with Exactly Foundation, created a photography series which zooms into the epic scale of plastic pollution via extreme close-up images of microplastic fragments, some just 2mm in size.

Travel Journal Bookbinding Workshop

14 May • 10:00am • Enabling Village

14 May • 02:00pm • Enabling Village

Create your own personal hand-bound travel journal at SPD’s craft workshops guided by our experienced artisans with disabilities in an inclusive setting.