It was a walk down memory lane for the older Singaporeans who lived through the nation's pre-independence days. For younger ones, it was a lesson about the Republic which may not be found in textbooks.
An exhibition chronicling the struggles and triumphs of Singapore - as told by The Straits Times through stories and pictures from its archives - opened to the public at the ArtScience Museum yesterday. Many of the estimated 3,900 visitors who toured its galleries left with more than just photographs.
Singapore STories: Then, Now, Tomorrow is the first exhibition at the venue to be free to the public.
It comes as the newspaper celebrates its 170th anniversary and Singapore marks 50 years as a nation.
Among the first in line when the museum's doors opened at 10am was nine-year-old Javier Yap, who toured the exhibits with his family.
DISCOVERING NEW THINGS ABOUT S'PORE
I thought I knew a lot about Singapore, but after touring the exhibition, I found that there were many things about my country I didn't know about.
MR STEVEN YAP, 47, a sales manager who was one of the first visitors yesterday
FEELINGS OF NOSTALGIA
'It was nostalgic. Singapore has changed significantly; its transformation is just remarkable.'
MR YEO CHENG ANN, 66, a retiree who toured the exhibition with his wife
SECOND TIME LUCKY
'We were determined to see the exhibition, so we decided to come down again. It was insightful; we enjoyed it very much.'
MR KEN HOGAN, 70, an Australian tourist who visited the museum on Tuesday, hoping to see the exhibition, but it was then closed to the public
The Cantonment Primary School pupil enjoyed the interactive displays, particularly the video documentary on the country's elite naval divers.
"I learnt about many events I didn't know of before. It was interesting," he said.
His father Steven Yap, 47, took the family of four there after a jog from their home in Tanjong Pagar as he wanted his young sons to learn about Singapore's uneasy road to independence as well as its founding fathers.
The sales manager noted: "The exhibition is a good chance for my children to understand our past, especially on things that they may take for granted.
"I found that there were many things about my country I didn't know about."
The Singapore STories exhibition unfolds across six galleries, in themes matching the newspaper's sections: Business, Home, World, Sport, Life and Forum.
Ms Cynthia Yeo, 55, who turned up with five childhood friends, recalls the long queues for primary school registration, as featured in a photo at the Home section.
"Some parents would use bags to reserve spots in the queue to register for primary school. Some even queued overnight," said Ms Yeo, who works in the financial industry. "For us, the exhibition brought back many good old memories."
Six curators put in months of work, including extensive archive research, to come up with the exhibition.
From multi-generation families to tourists from as far as the United States, many who turned up were impressed by the effort put in.
Among them were retiree Yeo Cheng Ann and his wife Theresa, both 66. Mr Yeo said: "Singapore has changed significantly and its transformation over the years is just remarkable."
For Australian tourist Ken Hogan, a retired teacher, the exhibition gave him a glimpse of Singapore beyond its tourist attractions. The 70-year-old, who was with his wife Dorothy, 67, said: "It was insightful; we enjoyed it very much."
The exhibition, co-curated by The Straits Times and the ArtScience Museum, will run until Oct 4. CapitaLand is its presenting sponsor, while Standard Chartered Bank is a gold sponsor. Best Denki sponsored the exhibition's equipment.