Parliament: National Heritage Board launches one-stop heritage portal

Media viewing of a new heritage portal by National Heritage Board, featuring heritage areas, national monuments, and artefacts. PHOTO: TIFFANY GOH FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
The NHB digital team behind (from left) Ian Liu, Nicholas Chen, Shaun Wong and Norfaiz Noeryamin PHOTO: TIFFANY GOH FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

SINGAPORE - A comprehensive heritage portal, piecing together different threads of research conducted by the National Heritage Board (NHB) over the years, has been launched.

Called, it features more than 120,000 cultural treasures and historical artefacts from the national collection, 85 heritage trails, and about 1,000 heritage resources including research papers and activity sheets.

It was announced by Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) Baey Yam Keng in Parliament during the Committee of Supply debate on Thursday (April 14). The portal, which was produced in-house by NHB's digital team, was first budgeted in 2014 as part of MCCY's digital engagement strategy.

It took seven months and cost about $400,000 to piece together. The site is targeted at educators and the general public.

It has been designed as an "interactive channel" to aid the discovery of heritage content and programming, including resources on heritage trails and sites, historic monuments, and research and publications, as well as other media content.

Mr Baey said the portal "presents heritage resources in a much more dynamic manner".

He said: "Whether you are a serious researcher, or just a curious young student, will provide a new dimension for you to explore and learn more about our history and heritage."

NHB's existing website draws about 300,000 views annually. It will now function as a corporate site. Overall, the board chalked up a digital reach of more than 3.07 million views across its digital platforms, including its museum websites and social platforms, between January and December last year.

During the debate, MCCY Minister Grace Fu, also responded to opposition MP Chen Show Mao who had raised the importance of implementing a heritage impact assessment framework.

Ms Fu said that NHB adopts a "calibrated and sensitive approach" to balance heritage preservation and development needs. She said the assessment frameworks adopted by other countries were studied but these were not fully applicable to Singapore.

She said: "We have decided not to adopt such frameworks wholesale at this point of time, but to evolve an approach suited to our local context."

She said that the board will be able to identify Singapore's heritage assets and better advise on their historical significance when the ongoing nationwide survey on the country's tangible heritage is completed by mid-2017.

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