Former Ford Factory

Former Ford Factory

Surviving the Japanese Occupation: War and its Legacies is a World War II exhibition presented by the National Archives of singapore at the historic Former Ford Factory. This exhibition aims to provide visitors with a comprehensive understanding of the events and memories surrounding the British surrender, the Japanese Occupation, and the legacies of the war.

The exhibition begins by telling the history of the Former Ford Factory. Originally built as the Ford Motor Company’s first car assembly plant in Southeast Asia in 1929, the building later became the site of the British surrender to the Imperial Japanese Army on 15 February 1942. It has since been designated as a national monument in 2006, highlighting its historical significance.

One of the main focuses of the exhibition is the fall of Singapore. The exhibition presents fresh perspectives on this significant event through three intertwining narratives: Japanese aggression, British defenses, and the experiences of civilians in Singapore. Visitors will have the unique opportunity to walk into the very boardroom where the surrender took place, allowing them to immerse themselves in the historical context of the event.

After the British surrender, Singapore was renamed Syonan-to, which means ‘Light-of-the South’ in Japanese. This period is known for its acts of atrocity, such as the mass screening of Chinese men and the merciless killing of those suspected of being anti-Japanese. The exhibition sheds light on these harrowing experiences and severe challenges faced by Singaporeans during the Japanese Occupation. Personal items and oral history recordings provide a glimpse into the lives of those who lived through this dark period.

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The legacies of war and occupation are also explored in the exhibition. The British Military Administration’s shortcomings during the war left the people with a less-than-rosy view of the returning colonial rulers. The exhibition examines the grand plans for decolonization, the social challenges of post-war reconstruction, and the people’s political awakening. By presenting these legacies on various levels, the exhibition encourages visitors to reflect on how the war and occupation have shaped Singapore’s history and identity.

To enhance the visitor experience, the Former Ford Factory offers free learning resources for families with children. The activity guide for children and the challenge worksheet for secondary students provide interactive and educational opportunities to explore the exhibition’s content. These resources help to engage younger visitors and promote a deeper understanding of Singapore’s wartime history.

In addition, the Former Ford Factory offers free guided tours led by experienced volunteer guides. These tours provide visitors with the opportunity to delve deeper into the stories behind the rich collections on display. However, it is important to note that daily guided tours are currently suspended until further notice. Visitors are advised to check the official website for updates and tour schedules.

In conclusion, the Surviving the Japanese Occupation: War and its Legacies exhibition at the Former Ford Factory offers a comprehensive and immersive experience for visitors to learn about the events and memories surrounding World War II in Singapore. Through its detailed presentations on the fall of Singapore, the Japanese Occupation, and the legacies of war and occupation, the exhibition provides a platform for reflection and understanding of Singapore’s wartime history. Whether through self-guided exploration or guided tours, visitors can gain a deeper appreciation for the sacrifices made and the resilience shown by the people of Singapore during this tumultuous period.

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Address And Location:


351 Upper Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 588192

  • Operating Hours

    Tuesday to Sunday 9am–5.30pm
    Closed on Mondays
    Open during Public Holidays except on the first day of Chinese New Year.


  • 351 Upper Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 588192

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