Behind every business that has stood the test of time lies a treasure trove of stories that we don’t often think of when we drop by our neighbourhood tau sar piah shop, or dabao our favourite chicken rice – the struggle of setting up shop; challenges that had to be overcome along the way; or customers who have grown to become friends over the years.

These tales will now come into the spotlight through the National Heritage Board’s (NHB) Street Corner Heritage Galleries scheme.

As part of its ongoing efforts under Our SG Heritage Plan to strengthen partnerships with communities, and raise awareness of and foster deeper appreciation for heritage in everyday spaces, NHB will work closely with local shop owners with at least 30 years of history in selected precincts to co-create “mini-museums” that showcase the history and heritage of their respective businesses and trades.

Located on-site, these galleries will display historical documents, photographs and artefacts that tell the stories of these shops.

The scheme involves collaboration between NHB museums, heritage institutions and community galleries, and the Street Corner Heritage Galleries managed by local shop owners in historic precincts.

On top of providing funding, curatorial support and assistance in fabricating the showcases, NHB will also work with local shop owners to develop programmes such as talks, tours and workshops, and give them the opportunity to participate in key NHB events such as the Singapore Heritage Festival and the respective CultureFests of the heritage institutions in their precincts.

From 10 March 2020, Street Corner Heritage Galleries will kick off with five community stakeholders within the Balestier precinct:

  • Loong Fatt Tau Sar Piah
  • Loy Kee Best Chicken Rice
  • Lim Kay Khee Optical and Contact Lens Centre
  • Lam Yeo Coffee Powder Factory
  • Sweetlands Confectionery and Bakery

The scheme will subsequently be rolled out in four other precincts – Kampong Gelam, Little India, Kreta Ayer/Chinatown and Geylang Serai – by 2022.