|The Changi Museum tells the horrific story of more than 50,000 civilians and soldiers who spent over three years of war and imprisonment in Changi during the Japanese Occupation (1942 - 1945). A chapel located in the courtyard is a replica of the many makeshift chapels the POWs used. An exact copy of The Changi Murals can be found within. Wartime artists such as Harold Young and William Haxworth drew over 400 sketches of daily life in Changi. Within the Museum has a small resource centre named "Changi University" after the informal education system set up by the POWs during their imprisonment.
The Changi Prison was built in 1936 by the British to hold only 600 prisoners. From 1942 to 1944, about 3000 civilian internees were housed in Changi Prison. The Australian POWs were stationed in Selarang Barracks and the British POWs were in Roberts Barracks, which are now both barracks for the Singapore Armed Forces. Only in May 1944, would the POWs move into Changi Prison, which held up to 8,000 POWs at any one time. The rest were encamped in makeshift tents on the prison grounds.
Some courageous POWs attempted to undermine their captors. They made short-wave radios which they operated in secret, colluding with resistance members both inside and outside the camp. When caught, they were tortured and interrogated by the Japanese Military Police, the Kempeitai. In spite of these oppressive conditions, however, the POWs pressed on with everyday living. They grew their own vegetables, organised concerts, set up a school and chapels sprung up all around the prison camp. Changi Prison is still in use as a correctional facility and it is the place of execution for convicted drug offenders. In 2004, old Changi Prison is scheduled to be demolished, and a new modern prison to hold 23,000 prisoners is to be built on top of it by 2008.
The Changi Museum was relocated to its new home on 15 February 2001 and was officially opened by our Trade and Industry Minister BG George Yeo. This date was also chosen to coincide with the 59th Anniversary of the fall of Singapore to the Japanese in 1942. The new Changi Museum replaces the Old Changi Prison Chapel and Museum (built in 1988) that was located to its current site to make way for the expansion of Changi Prison.
In-House Museum Tour (45 mins). S$8/Adult; S$4/Child. No pre-booking is needed. Tours run daily, Enquire at the Museum Gift Shop Counter for more details. Last tour of the day at 3.45pm.