Article provided by National Library Board

What lies within the National Library's Rare Collection?

 The National Library’s Rare Materials Collection contains over 13,000 rare items documenting the early history of Singapore and Southeast Asia, before 1945.
The National Library’s Rare Materials Collection contains over 13,000 rare items documenting the early history of Singapore and Southeast Asia, before 1945.PHOTO: NATIONAL LIBRARY BOARD
This map, published in February 1942, illustrates the Japanese Imperial Army’s progress into Singapore.
This map, published in February 1942, illustrates the Japanese Imperial Army’s progress into Singapore.PHOTO: NATIONAL LIBRARY BOARD
This is a board game, much like snakes & ladders, which brings its players on a tour of the various places within the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, Japan’s wartime empire.
This is a board game, much like snakes & ladders, which brings its players on a tour of the various places within the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, Japan’s wartime empire.PHOTO: NATIONAL LIBRARY BOARD

From early European maps to government publications from the Straits Settlements period, the National Library’s Rare Materials Collection contains over 13,000 rare items documenting the early history of Singapore and Southeast Asia, before 1945.

Visitors can catch a glimpse of these treasures in our Rare Gallery on the 13th floor of the National Library Building, which showcases a changing selection.

The current theme, running till August, is the Malayan Campaign and Japanese Occupation. Highlights include a February 1942 map showing the Japanese Imperial Army’s progress into Singapore, and a board game which brings players on a tour of locations in the ‘Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere’, Japan’s wartime empire.

In a continuing series of exclusive guided tours which started last year, Senior Librarian Gracie Lee will introduce these historical documents on Aug 19, 2017.

Registration for the free tour opens in July. These tours are organised by the National Library, a national knowledge institution that preserves and makes accessible Singapore’s published heritage.

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