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Knowing Our Past, Looking to the Future
Honouring the Home Team’s vibrant, multifaceted heritage at the Home Team Gallery.

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PHOTO: Jade Tan

What’s the key to taking on the security challenges of tomorrow? At the Home Team Gallery, it’s understanding the lessons of the past. 

A Senior Executive (Heritage Research & Education) at the Centre for Home Team Foundation Training & Heritage (CFTH), Crystal Tung is committed to sharing with Gallery visitors how the Home Team draws from its vibrant legacy to plan for the future.

“We educate Home Team officers about how we can’t take our safety and security for granted, and help inculcate the core values of the Home Team,” says Crystal. “As each Home Team Department has its own history and traditions, we want to show how we can come together and work towards our common mission of keeping Singapore safe and secure.” 

A Vital Repository
Located at the Home Team Academy, the Gallery is a vital repository of the Home Team’s legacy. Inside this two-storey building are a series of themed exhibits showcasing key Home Team milestones and operational achievements over the decades. 

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Displays at the Home Team Gallery detail the Home Team’s journey over the decades. PHOTOS: Jade Tan, Home Team Gallery

Browsing the displays (many of which include actual artefacts from the past), what stands out are the personal stories of the officers – the men and women who dedicated themselves to keeping Singapore safe. 

Firearms as a Storytelling Tool
Another highlight of the Gallery is the Home Team Firearms Exhibition, which was launched in 2015 as part of the SG50 celebration. As the Project Lead for the exhibition, Crystal worked with her CFTH colleagues to conceptualise, research and develop its striking displays.

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At arms: A vintage rifle on display at the Home Team Firearms Exhibition. Crystal and her CFTH colleagues reached out to Home Team Departments and private collectors to request artefacts like this to bring the past to life. PHOTO: Phylicia Poon

Meticulously researched and curated, the exhibition is rich with historical detail and allows visitors to witness the evolution of the Home Team and the importance of safeguarding law and order. 

“We wanted to show how the Home Team has evolved over the years to keep Singapore safe,” says Crystal. “To bring this narrative to life, we used decommissioned firearms as a storytelling tool.”

Whatever the Odds
What struck Crystal during her research was the determination of the pioneering officers to do their best, whatever the odds. “That’s why we brought into the exhibition the values of our officers from Singapore’s early days,” she shares. “They were often under-equipped and under-strength, but had to go up against pirates and gangsters. Their resolve helps us appreciate how we’ve come from a past of turbulence and criminal activity to where we are now.” 

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A display at the Gallery celebrates the essential role played by Home Team officers. PHOTO: Jade Tan

However, piecing together the exhibition wasn’t an easy feat. “There was an intense, seven-month period during which we conducted research and sourced for artefacts that would help visitors form an emotional connection to our narrative,” explains Crystal. “This exhibition wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the Home Team Departments and private collectors who came forward to share their artefacts and stories.”

For her efforts, Crystal received the Minister for Home Affairs National Day Award (Individual) in August 2019. “Understanding our past gives us an appreciation of where we came from and how we’re building on the achievements of our pioneers,” she says. “It’s been very fulfilling to be part of the Heritage team!”

Minister for Home Affairs National Day Awards 2019
The Minister for Home Affairs National Day Award recognises Home Team officers who have distinguished themselves through significant and commendable contributions in their respective areas of work. This year, there were 105 Individual Award recipients and 14 Team Award recipients. Read the speech by Minister for Manpower and Second Minister for Home Affairs Mrs Josephine Teo.
© 2019 Ministry of Home Affairs, Singapore. All Rights Reserved.

  1. by Jade Tan
  2. 19 December 2019
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