Singapore HeritageFest Returns In May With 21st Edition

The annual Singapore HeritageFest (SHF) returns for its 21st edition with a lineup of over 120 programmes dedicated to celebrating the stories and living heritage behind Singapore’s buildings, sites and structures.

Like the many editions that came before, SHF 2024 will commemorate significant milestones in our nation’s history. This year marks the 35th year of Singapore’s conservation programme and the 40th year of Total Defence.

“Singapore’s buildings, sites and structures – our built heritage – are more than just brick and stone. They hold the stories and experiences of diverse communities past and present, and it is the people and their stories that bring these spaces to life,” said SHF Festival Director David Chew.

The festival, organised by the National Heritage Board (NHB), will run from May 1 to 26 with its array of island-wide activities, including workshops, tours, trials and exhibitions.


Highlights include the guided walking tours that explore the stories of the Straits Chinese communities. Festival-goers can visit the former home of Singapore Chinese Girls’ School and a 19th-century Straits Chinese home with the SHF’s 37 Emerald Hill Site Tours and Living Architecture: Conservation Tours at NUS Baba House, respectively. 

Another guided walking tour to look out for is (Her)story of Samsui Women led by Samsui-descendant Pauline Fun. “(It) is part of Qixi Fest’s (Her)Story series to share the lesser-known stories of our foremothers and the values they instill in our future generations,” said Director of Qixi Fest Lynn Wong.

In line with the 40th year of Total Defence, there are also some military-themed activities. Notably, festival-goers will get the chance to live through an outfield camp experience and gear up for a ‘route march’ to SAFTI Military Institute at A Taste of Outfield Camp: Heritage in a Mess Tin. 

SHF has even prepared something for aspiring ghost hunters. Dark Changi, The Walking Tour, for example, has the Walk with Hantu: Changi experience, bringing paranormal fans to the supposed haunted sites.


If walking is not your cup of tea, don’t worry. The Hop-On, Hop-Off (HOHO) Bus Experience will bring participants on a journey to Singapore’s historical precincts, such as Little India and Bras Basah.Bugis. You can also cruise our northeastern waters and visit one of our last remaining kelongs with Island Boat Tour + Kelong Visit by Let’s Go Tour.


You can also look forward to programmes that delve into Singapore’s maritime heritage and evolving educational institutions, as well as the return of the SHF signatures.

One of these signatures, the Ride & Discover programme, which reimagines MRT stations and trains as exhibition spaces, will feature panels with stories of Singapore’s landmarks and structures at four MRT stations – Dhoby Ghaut, Bugis, Queenstown and Tanjong Pagar.

Meanwhile, this year’s Homeground installation can be found on the lawn of the National Museum of Singapore. It will feature five displays that show the evolution of our public housing and a landmark of our first UNESCO World Heritage Site, Singapore Botanic Garden’s bandstand gazebo. – CNA

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