The Bicentennial Experience
From Singapore to Singaporean: The Bicentennial Experience has ended
As the centrepiece event of the Singapore Bicentennial, this multimedia sensory experience brings you back in time to witness key moments in Singapore’s transformation from as far back as 1299.
The show ended its run on 31 December 2019. Thank you for all your support.
Go beyond The Bicentennial Experience to discover Singapore’s 700-year history. Explore multiple content formats, from animated films and short videos to e-books, an interactive book and a lecture series. Find out more at our Beyond the Experience page.
From Singapore to Singaporean: The Bicentennial Experience brings to life Singapore’s momentous evolution from 1299, shaped by wider regional and global shifts. It comprises an immersive, ticketed experience within the Fort Canning Centre, and a free and easy exploration through pavilions within the greenery of Fort Gate.
Enjoy a front-row view of Singapore’s 700-year history. Experience first-hand the sights, sounds and drama of formative events throughout our evolution. This segment requires a ticket for entry. It is a timed experience that will last 60 minutes. (Show Advisory: Recommended for children aged 5 and above. Please note that there are strobe lights, loud sounds and rotations during the show. Guests prone to motion sickness or dizziness should avoid the experience. )
Act 1: Beginnings
In her early days, Singapura was a thriving maritime emporium under the rule of Sang Nila Utama and his successors. Being connected to the region brought Singapore waves of fortune and prosperity, but it also put her at the centre of regional disruptions.
Through it all, Singapore evolves – from being the seat of the Kingdom of Singapura in the 14th century, to how her fall gave rise to the Melaka Sultanate in the 15th century, and eventually, as naval base and gateway to the Johor Sultanate in the 17th century.
Act 2: Arrival
The arrival of the British in 1819 marked a new trajectory for Singapore as it evolves once again, this time into a colonial port linking Singapore’s trade not only with the region, but also with Europe. The absence of port duties and new economic opportunities attracted waves of migrants who flocked to the newly-opened port, turning Singapore into a more cosmopolitan town.
Act 3: Connectivity
The long 19th century saw to Singapore evolving further into a bustling metropolis. It witnessed the emergence of new technological inventions, expansion of physical infrastructure and industries, as well as the proliferation of new ideas of identity and belonging.
However, beneath these glitzy developments were grim realities, especially for those of the labouring masses who had to contend with a whole range of social ills. These prompted prominent members of the various communities to step forward in attempts to address these issues.
Act 4: Occupation
Life in the city of Singapore came to a standstill with the outbreak of World War II in 1942. The British surrender of Singapore and the ensuing occupation between the years 1942 to 1945 made the people of Singapore not only realize the dangers of dependency, but also prompted them to seek ways to chart their own destiny, and renegotiate their relationship to the island they have called home.
(Show Advisory: Part of this Act will be an audio segment in a dark room.)
Act 5: Destiny
With a recap of scenes from previous Acts, journey through the story of how our nation emerged through the contribution of ordinary people.
The Pathfinder is a series of pavilions where we experience our 700-year old history through space. It takes the visitor through Singapore’s place in the world across the centuries by using artefacts, maps, flora and the written word. This is a free and easy exploration which will take approximately 30 minutes or more.
Emporium of the East
This space simulates Singapore as an Emporium of the East between the 14th to 16th century, featuring replicas of trading goods that were found in Singapore and the surrounding region in this period.
Visitors can access information on our historical connection to the region’s culture and trade.
House of Maps
The House of Maps is a showcase of maps that show the evolution of the marking of Singapore’s place in the world across time, as well as its different names throughout history.
The kinetic façade of smaller cartographic volumes responds to the wind, which symbolises the power of the element that has influenced much of maritime history in this region for the past 700 years.
The Seed Conservatory features the historical flora of Singapore over the last 700 years. This pavilion features native plants, alongside those which were brought to the island either by forces of nature, or to be cultivated for aesthetic as well as economic reasons.
The Lookout consists of three telescopes that showcase how the sea has been a key constant in Singapore’s history as it changes over the centuries.
Reflections of Our Past
Reflections of Our Past is a space for visitors to pause and ponder on their experiences and stories of the Bicentennial.
In the day, the Lightbeam is a sculptural feature of mirrors. When night falls, a beam will shine from the centre of the Pathfinder in three colours - each representing one of the Bicentennial DNA traits: Openness, Self-Determination, and Multiculturalism.
Pavilion of Words
The Pavilion of Words is an open-air library housing quotes, books, and excerpts taken from histories and stories related to Singapore for the past 700 years, ranging from key historical figures to our contemporary writers.
Visitors are also encouraged to pen their thoughts on the past and their hopes for the future.
The Old Married Soldier’s Quarters is transformed into the Observatory, where visitors can see how historical events around the world coincide with our 700-year history.
Created by Brian Gothong Tan, Echoes is a series of four site-specific short films projected at Fort Canning Green nightly. The fictional stories explore the themes of love, compassion and multi-culturalism, in scenes inspired by life in early Singapore.