Exhibition on women pioneers to open on Thursday at the National Museum

SINGAPORE - An exhibition honouring the efforts of Singapore's women pioneers and their work in the community will be opened to the public on Thursday at the National Museum of Singapore.

The exhibition, "Leading Ladies: Women Making a Difference", was organised with Singapore's first and oldest women's association - the Chinese Women's Association (CWA).

Through a series of artefacts, photographs and furniture - ranging from an elaborate teak sideboard of Anglo-European design, imbued with Chinese ornamental elements, to a teak and glass display cabinet referred to as tu kacha by Peranakans - visitors will get to learn about the history and contributions of the association.

The CWA was established as the Chinese Ladies' Association in 1915, to promote the social needs of Chinese women and enhance the life skills of women in Singapore.

The stories of expatriate missionaries such as Ms Sophia Blackmore and Ms Sophia Cooke will also go on show at the exhibition. The missionaries, along with many other women, had left their mark in the education and healthcare scenes in Singapore since the 19th Century.

Ms Blackmore, a missionary from Australia, is the founder of what is currently known as Fairfield Methodist School and Methodist Girls' School, while English missionary Sophia Cooke founded the Young Women's Christian Association.

Others, like Dr Charlotte Ferguson-Davie, pioneered the first specialised clinic for women and children in Singapore in 1913. She later went on to establish the St Andrew's Mission Hospital for Women and Children in 1923.

Ms Angelita Teo, the museum's director, said: "The Leading Ladies: Women Making a Difference community exhibition presents a unique perspective of Singapore's heritage through the efforts and contributions of Singapore's women pioneers who were steadfast in their goal of improving the lives of others."

The exhibition will be at the Stamford Gallery, Level 1, from April 9 to June 21, 2015.

Admission is free.