In 1988, the idea of building a museum to showcase the history of the SAF was first mooted. This idea was later evolved into the concept of the S'pore Discovery Centre (SDC). However, SDC is not merely an educational tool for the SAF. It is a platform that provides plenty for Singaporeans to think about and helps them prepare for future challenges.
In October 1992, MINDEF approved the setting up of the S'pore Discovery Centre (SDC) at the cost of $70 million. Located on the grounds of the SAFTI Military Insitute, Mitchell Giurgola & Throp Architects developed the architectural design for SDC. Previous buildings by these architects include the SAFTI Military Institute and the Australian Parliament House.
SDC was officially opened by then president Ong Teng Cheong on 23 November 1996.
In 1989, SDC started a review of the Centre to change from a historical site to an issue-based orientation.
In 2001, Ralph Appelbaum Associates (RAA) was selected as the design consultants for the project. RAA are planners, designers and producers of museum exhibitions, visitors centre and educational enivronments. They are behind many famous institutions such as the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. and the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.
A presentation was made to the Singapore Totalisator Board in 2002 and a grant of S$25 million was approved. Redevelopment work started in December 2002.