Fuk Tak Chi Museum
76 Telok Ayer St, Singapore 048464
Location: 76 Telok Ayer Street (S’pore 048464)
Nearest Train Station : Telok Ayer MRT station (Downtown Line)
Admission : Free
Time: 10am – 10pm
Tel: 6580 2888
Fuk Tak Chi Museum used to be the oldest Chinese temple in Singapore. Initially it was a shrine setup by Cantonese and Hakka immigrants in 1824 in a non-concrete structure devoted to the Chinese deity Tua Peh Kong.
In 1825, the structure was knocked down and was rebuilt with bricks followed by renovation work in 1869 and redecoration work in 1887. Renovation work was financed by Hokkien community leader Cheang Hong Lim.
When immigrants first arrive in Singapore from China by sea, one of the first places they would visit would be the shrine to offer thanksgiving for the safe journey to Singapore. This was so because before the reclamation project in 1880s, the Telok Ayer Basin, lined by Telok Ayer Street, was where immigrants would land when they came in by sea.
Not only was the temple a place of worship, it also served as a headquarters for the Hakka and Cantonese communities. It was something of a welfare association where conflicts were settled and was closely related to the clan association and development of the communities.
However, in 1994, the temple was in a run-down condition and so, it closed its door to the public and was handed over to Urban Redevelopment Authority(URA).
In 1998, the temple was reopened to the public as Singapore’s first street museum. The museum is under a conservation project by National Heritage Board, so all the original building features have been retained. It is a place to learn about Chinese migrant life and the social history of Singapore. Artefacts include the abacus, travel documents, a scaled down model of Telok Ayer Street as it was (a bustling harbourfront), and much, much more.
A tiny, intimate museum, Fuk Tak Chi is well worth a visit, and there is a nice coffee shop at the back.
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