SINGAPORE - Starting from April, the Changi Chapel and Museum will be closed in stages as it undergoes its first major redevelopment in more than 15 years. It will reopen in 2020.
The museum will be closed to the public from April 2, while the chapel will close from Jan 1, next year.
The redevelopment of the site - devoted to Singapore's history during World War II - is aimed at addressing the "wear and tear from having been in operation for more than 15 years", said National Museum of Singapore director Angelita Teo.
"With the redevelopment, visitors can look forward to refreshed content and offerings that will continue to highlight the stories of Changi," Ms Teo said, noting that this will help the site "complement the overall World War II narrative" told by other sites such as Reflections of Bukit Chandu, the Former Ford Factory, and related galleries within the National Museum.
The redevelopment will be managed by the National Museum, under the National Heritage Board (NHB), because of the museum's "strong focus" on World War II.
It comes as the one-year contract that NHB and The Changi Museum signed in March last year to jointly operate the museum ends.
The Changi Museum is a subsidiary of Singapore History Consultants, a private firm specialising in heritage education and research consultancy services.
In a joint statement on Monday (Jan 29), NHB and Singapore History Consultants said that under The Changi Museum, the Changi Chapel and Museum had established itself as a "must-see" World War II site that received international praise for its "sensitive and poignant portrayal of the war years".
"For the past 17 years, the Changi Museum has grown to become an important place for those seeking a deeper understanding of the difficult years of the war in Singapore," said Singapore History Consultants director Jeya Ayadurai.
It had also established research and collaborative ties with museums, organisations and families of prisoners of war around the world, he added.
The Changi Chapel and Museum receives more than 100,000 visitors annually.
Before the site is closed for redevelopment, Singapore citizens and permanent residents can enjoy a 50 per cent discount on audio guided tours over three weekends - Feb 16 to 18, Feb 23 to 25 and March 2 to 4.
Visitors will also be able to enjoy a 50 per cent discount on the three-hour war trail bus tour, Changi WWII, on March 27, 29 and 31.
A new four-hour trail, From Changi to Kranji, will continue to include the Changi Chapel and Museum as a "point of reference" while the site is closed.