Documenting Covid-19 in SIngapore

Have you seen the Tweets?

Yeah, those Tweets. The ones that shout that the youth of tomorrow will have a difficult time sorting through the hefty chapter that is today’s coronavirus pandemic

or rather, our current reality.

It seems surreal that we’re living through this day and age, but the climbing numbers that make up the ‘infected’ and ‘death’ tolls anchor us back to ground: we are living through a pandemic. While the sharp, black hills of the “curve” that countries struggle to crush continue to fluctuate, people call for their community to come together and work on recovering as a team, as a country.

Singapore – with its #SGUnited hashtags circulating on social media platforms, has definitely not missed out on the efforts to remain tight-knit and a united front against Covid-19.

One such effort is in the form of a nation-wide project by the National Library Board and National Museum of Singapore, who have jointly launched Documenting Covid-19 in Singapore (actively collecting from 22 May to 31 December 2020).

Documenting Covid-19 in Singapore aims to capture a fuller picture of life during these times, add to the nation’s history and archives, and enrich future generations’ understanding of this extraordinary period.

It is a collection drive that calls for Singaporeans from all corners of the island — individuals, communities and organisations — to contribute materials that document experiences living amidst the pandemic in Singapore.

Mdm Ng Swang Wui, 87, sewing reusable face masks for her great-grandchildren using complimentary bags. These masks will be contributed to the National Museum’s collection. C/o Jean Toh

The current cross-generational efforts of Mdm Ng, 87 (above) as she sews reusable face masks for her grandchildren — two generations (pictured below) younger, not only serve as an effort within the family, but as a way to enrich future generations who view the ‘Documenting Covid-19 in Singapore’ materials.

C/o Lynn Toh

The National Museum’s curators have been closely observing developments that have taken place from the onset of the pandemic and documenting important objects and stories which highlight the sentiment of life in Singapore during Covid-19. Said Chung May Khuen, Director, National Museum of Singapore: “As the National Museum, we seek to capture and show how defining moments in our lives, like the COVID-19 pandemic have affected life in Singapore in one way or another.” This is part of its ongoing efforts under its ‘Collecting Contemporary Singapore’ project that documents significant moments in Singapore’s recent and contemporary history, through the collection of objects and stories that capture people’s lived experiences.

Since February, the National Library Board has worked on archiving websites, television broadcasts and collecting photographs and other documents that highlight management measures and shifts in lifestyle of Singaporeans as Covid-19 developed.

“Our ‘Documenting COVID-19 in Singapore’ collection drive invites the community to work with us to develop a collection that documents this national experience. We will preserve these collective memories and contributions so that our daily lives during this period can be remembered in the future,” said Ng Cher Pong, Chief Executive Officer of the National Library Board.

As a young Singaporean, staying productive — attending online classes, sending Starbucks to each other’s houses, keeping to yoga Instagram lives — has taken on a new form during the coronavirus period. Perhaps snapping a photo of your bullet journal featuring “stay home” activities may end up in the National Museum of Singapore for your grandchildren to see.

You can find some guidelines for contribution to the National Library Board‘s collection here.

The contribution guidelines for the National Museum of Singapore’s collection, Collecting Contemporary Singapore, can be found here.


If you’d like to contribute or nominate online content (for the National Library Board’s collection) in the form of blogs or e-posters (so probably not a straight-up meme), head over to this page.

There’s a place for everyone as we power through and overcome this pandemic.

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