By Chan Jing Mun Celeste (23S05A), Chairperson; Ang Cheng Kiat Reyes (23A01A), Vice-Chairperson
When one thinks of Raffles Institution, one can hardly do so without thinking of its long and storied history. Just like the twin-headed eagle on its school crest, RI is an institution deeply rooted in tradition, even as it aspires to be the “Hope of a Better Age”. That is precisely what interests our combined Y14 and Y56 club: the study and preservation of RI’s extensive history and rich heritage.
With the school set to celebrate its bicentennial in 2023 and gearing up to launch celebrations into full swing, you may see the name Raffles Archives and Museum bouncing around the school often. Indeed, all of our staff and student members have been hard at work over the past year. However, there’s so much more to our CCA than just the bicentennial celebrations!
The Y56 club of 2022 (unfortunately sans some members) engaged in discussion, with the Office of Alumni Relations in the background.
The Y56 branch of RAM was formed in 2021 by a former member of Y14 RAM, Eugene Teo. Our amazing teachers-in-charge are Mrs Cheryl Yap (Head/RAM) and Ms Low Siew Hsien from the Y14 side, and we work closely with the jovial staff from the Office of Alumni Relations. Though likely the smallest club in RI Y56 with only nine members across two batches so far, with the guidance of our teachers and staff, we are deeply involved in many aspects of RI’s heritage conservation and historical preservation.
Regular club sessions have us gathering round the museum’s white tables, specially reserved for club members. Discussing projects; carrying out historical research; brushing up on our knowledge of RI’s history; learning interviewing, docenting, and curation skills; exploring our own interests through external workshops and attachments; working on outreach to the student body… the list of what we do goes on and on!
The then-Y5 members in 2021, working with external vendors.
Another hallmark of the club experience is learning about heritage and history with our own eyes and hands. As wonderful as the museum is to peacefully muse in, nothing beats heading outside of school! Our club goes on regular outings to galleries, museums, and places of historical interest. With these exhibition visits, we get to witness firsthand the skills we’ve learnt being put into practice by specialists in the heritage industry.
A collage of exhibitions we’ve visited over 2022! Clockwise from top left: NLB’s ‘Mapping the World’, tour by curator Ms Chia Jie Lin; Peck San Theng Heritage Gallery, tour by docent Mr Kenneth Kwan; National Gallery’s ‘Between Declarations and Dreams’; National Museum’s ‘Dislocations’, tour by docent Dr Ma Swan Hoo.
There are no prerequisites to joining our club — you don’t even have to take History as a subject! — save for a genuine interest in what we do, and a willingness to give your very all in conceptualising and executing our club’s projects and initiatives.
Post-2023, your batch will also lead our CCA into a new environment — one where the bicentennial too has become something of the past. Your efforts and hard work will play a fundamental role in shaping the very foundations of our Y56 club, alongside solidifying the role of the Raffles Archives and Museum in RI, in the years to come after.
The combined Y14 and Y56 clubs of 2022, with our teachers and staff!
Do you, too, desire to leave the phenomenal world and enter into the sublime? Join us every Wednesday, from 3.30-5.30pm, at the Archives and Museum on the Y14 campus, for two unforgettable years of a CCA experience! (And in the meantime, keep up with the thrilling things we’re up to on our Instagram page, @rafflesarchives!)