The key for the past to stay relevant for the present and future is letting communities shape their identities and heritage, says Li Yong, co-founder of civic and heritage group My Community.
When My Community opened a heritage community museum in Queenstown in early 2019, it received a surprisingly strong reaction from the residents. They wanted to know the purpose of Museum @ My Queenstown and some even questioned its relevance to the community.
This reaction was a reminder to never take the community for granted. “Instead of speaking
to the residents (about the museum), we just assumed that the community would embrace its premise and curation right away,” says Li Yong who founded My Community with his friend Jasper Tan, in 2010. My Community is a civic and heritage group that originally offered guided tours in Queenstown, one of Singapore’s oldest housing estates.
The community museum is the first of its kind located within the Queenstown neighbourhood. “We had already incorporated artefacts and photographs in the museum from the residents but they did not just want them to be displayed, they wanted to be an active part of the planning and curation process.” Since then,
My Community has roped in residents to work with its volunteers and artists to co-curate exhibitions and programmes for the museum.