SINGAPORE - The lives of Indian Muslim pioneers here will reach a wider audience of younger people when a new gallery telling their stories opens its doors to the public on Tuesday.
Located in the Nagore Dargah Indian Muslim Heritage Centre, a 186-year-old institution in Telok Ayer, it will feature storyboards, telling for instance how Indian Muslim merchants sailed from port to port to trade items such as betel and gold, or about the role of Islam among the community.
Through the educational and multimedia displays, visitors can also learn more about the contributions of pioneers in areas such as literature and interfaith work.
The centre said in a statement that the new gallery "serves to add to the SG50 celebrations by documenting the growth of the Singapore Indian Muslim community, which has benefited from and... played an important part in the growth of Singapore".
The addition is supported financially by the National Heritage Board, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) and businesses in the Indian Muslim community.
Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, was guest of honour at Tuesday's launch. He was accompanied by Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim, who was Special Guest.
With the newest gallery, the heritage centre will have four explaining various facets of the community's history.
For instance, one gallery gives an overview of Nagore Dargah, which, before it was converted into a heritage centre in 2010, was a shrine where Indian Muslims gave thanks to a saint, Shahul Hameed, for granting them safe passage to Singapore. It was built by immigrants from South India between 1827 and 1830, and was declared a national monument in 1974.
Another gallery depicts the history of the Indian Muslim community and how they built their lives in Singapore, while the third gallery explains the origins of its patron, Holy Saint Shahul Hameed, a South Indian holy man who helped to spread Islam to India.
The new gallery will provide "more extensive coverage and register the numerous contributions made by the community", said the centre.
The latest addition comes the centre reopened its doors to visitors on Nov 30, 2014, after a year-long refurbishment.
Admission is free, although donations are welcome.