Museums in Singapore

Singapore, Singapore Guide (D): Museums in Singapore

Museums speak a lot about a city. And in rapidly-changing Singapore, its urban-dwellers hold a sense of pride in preserving Singapore’s rich history and culture. Bring home a deeper understanding of Singapore and its truly diverse group of people - explore Singapore's museums - and learn what drives the country to be what it is today.
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Attractions Map

Guide Name: Museums in Singapore
Guide Location: Singapore » Singapore
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (D))
# of Destinations: 15
Sight(s) featured in this guide: National Museum of Singapore (*)   Asian Civilisations Museum (*)   Images of Singapore   Singapore Art Museum (*)   ArtScience Museum (*)   Mint Museum of Toys   Singapore Philatelic Museum   Singapore Coins and Notes Museum   Changi Museum   Memories of Old Ford Factory   Malay Heritage Centre (*)   Chinatown Heritage Centre   Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum   Peranakan Museum   The Maritime Experiential Museum  
Author: Arlyana Saliman
Author Bio: Discovering places, old and new, is an all-time favourite thing to do for this author. Even the most ordinary thing can be something extra-ordinary, with an eye for detail and some excavation to reveal some unknown facts. Catch her in action, as she scours around the island for great sites to visit and share them with visitors like you.
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National Museum of Singapore (*)

1) National Museum of Singapore (*)

Experience the nation’s oldest museum, dating way back in 1887. The building itself is an impressive grand dame, and restoration has brought wonders to its old neo-Palladian architecture. Permanent exhibits - The Singapore Living Galleries and The Singapore History Gallery - lay await for you to embark on Singapore's historical journey.The museum also hosts many exciting festivals and events all-year round, hence it'll be wise to give yourself time for a trip here. Within walking distance are several other smaller-scaled museums, so the National Museum is a definite good start-off point for both light museum-hoppers and fanatics alike.
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Asian Civilisations Museum (*)

2) Asian Civilisations Museum (*)

The Asian Civilisations Museum brings together the different cultures of groups of people, from nearby and faraway shores like South Asia, West Asia, Southeast Asia as well as China, presented in 11 different galleries spread over three storeys. Previously a government office, with architectural design that reminds one of the National Museum, this museum offers a broader understanding of the people in the region and in Singapore. It boasts a very informative display and although can be a little heavy on the factual side, this museum is a jewel in itself. Continue on with the historical experience virtually yourself – just step out of the museum and stroll down the Singapore River just a stone’s throw away and appreciate the blending of the Old and the New.
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Images of Singapore

3) Images of Singapore

For some ‘light’ history on Singapore, this museum is for you. Here, you can easily travel back through time and journey through the nation’s history from its hey days as a fishing village to the bustling city it is today. History becomes easily digestible as you catch yourself frozen in time with the re-created scenes and real-life figurines, and learn about Singapore’s founding fathers and how the nation came together, united by migrants from far and near. Here’s also a great place to get a glimpse on how Singaporeans celebrate, with special showcases featuring racial and religious groups and discover the melting pot that Singapore truly is. A recommendable attraction spot for families and young children as well, or for a short and simple visit for people from all walks of life, adding an educational value to one’s visit to the country. Another plus point, the museum is located on Sentosa Island, a tourist hotspot well-known for its many exciting attractions.
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Singapore Art Museum (*)

4) Singapore Art Museum (*)

Love Art? For a good look at modern and contemporary artwork from Singapore and the Southeast Asia region, head on down to the Singapore Arts Museum. Previously the site of a Catholic boys’ school, the art museum stands proud with its diverse collection of artwork, not to mention various interesting events scheduled all-year round for you to catch.
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ArtScience Museum (*)

5) ArtScience Museum (*)

Fancy exploring a museum that takes you on a journey exploring both Arts and Science? Strategically-located just inches away from the renowned Marina Bay Sands Resort with a fine view of the city, this spot will offer a unique experience from the rest of the usual museum visits. Showcasing creativity works, this modern museum also hosts plenty of visiting exhibitions all-year round. Admission tickets can be bought in advance online or at any SISTIC outlet (located in several shopping centes). The Marina Bay Sands vicinity is one of the latest attractions for luxury shopping and fine dining, with other spots like the Singapore Flyer and the Gardens By The Bay pretty close by.
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Mint Museum of Toys

6) Mint Museum of Toys

For toy-lovers young and old, the Mint (Moment of Imagination and Nostalgia with Toys) Museum of Toys will bring back the good old memories of toy soldiers, embroidered dolls and card games, a far cry from today’s plastic and electronic world. Be marvelled with the unique collection of toys, hailing from countries like UK, Germany, the US and Japan. Spread well over four floors and divided into several sections – Collectables, Childhood Favourites, Characters and Outer Space – the collection of toys will certainly blow your mind as you marvel over the vintage toys. Don’t miss out on this site if you are in the vicinity, a rare twist from the usual museum visits.
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Singapore Philatelic Museum

7) Singapore Philatelic Museum

For stamp-lovers, this museum is just for you. Housed in a colonial building, the Singapore Philatelic Museum has three main collections – Straits Settlements Collection, Singapore Collection and Universal Postal Union Collection – while the permanent galleries narrate how stamps came about and Singapore’s stamps from the 1800s till today.
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Singapore Coins and Notes Museum

8) Singapore Coins and Notes Museum

Get a good look at coins and notes used during pre- and post-independence Singapore showcased in this museum and get hands-on experience in the interactive session. Managed by the Singapore Mint, this mini-museum will exude wonder to those who have always wondered about how coins and notes come about historically. Drop by a visit, conveniently located in Chinatown. You may need to keep a look out for this museum, though, being one of the tenants of the shophouses and camouflaged by the vendors calling out for your attention!
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Changi Museum

9) Changi Museum

This is a museum that documents the events that unfolded in an area called Changi during the Japanese Occupation. Previously housing the Old Changi Prison Chapel and Museum, the museum honors those whose heroism inspired all and documents the significant events during the Japanese Occupation, providing insights to many of us who have only heard of war. This can be considered a brief visit that can be made under a couple of hours, digesting the narrative storyboards in the five zones centred around the chapel. Although a bit off the 'usual beaten track' for some tourists, it is still a popular spot and great for students and the younger generation too. Admission is free but paid audio tours are available, and an extra note that the museum allows only a maximum number of 120 visitors at a time due to its capacity, during which you may have to wait, although this rarely happens. Additionally, you can also hop on a battlefield tour which will bring you to various historical war sites around the island.
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Memories of Old Ford Factory

10) Memories of Old Ford Factory

The museum is housed in the former Ford Motor Factory, the first Ford vehicle assembly plant in Southeast Asia. This site carries heavy nostalgia as it is also the site of the formal British surrender of Malaya in 1942, which marked the start of the Japanese Occupation in Singapore. With extensive research by the National Archives of Singapore, this small and cosy gallery narrates how the war reached this island at the tip of the peninsula and how those years were lived. A beautifully-arranged exhibit compact with much eye-witness accounts, you can also view the actual room where the surrender took place. A must-visit for all, especially those with a keen interest in wartime history.
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Malay Heritage Centre (*)

11) Malay Heritage Centre (*)

Embark on a journey to discover the Malay culture and heritage in Singapore and learn more about its people. This quaint and cosy museum is actually the old Istana Kampong Gelam (or Kampong Gelam Palace), located right next to the Sultan Mosque. Housing six permanent galleries displaying an interesting array of collections, you’ll be starting your journey on the second level in honor of the original istana layout. Discover the history of the site itself and learn how important trade was in the olden days and move on to the ground level to explore more about the language, the arts and music in the Malay community. A typical museum tour here will be comfortably brief yet very informative, covering just a few hours, but do take the time to explore the vicinity nearby. Nestled in the neighbouring compound are rows of conserved shophouses transformed into cafes and shops (selling textile, souvenirs, handicraft etc.), awaiting for you to explore one of the must-visit places in Singapore.
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Chinatown Heritage Centre

12) Chinatown Heritage Centre

The Chinatown Heritage Centre offers visitors a chance to take a step back to the yesteryears when Chinese migrants came to Singapore. Covering 13 mini-sections over three floors of three shophouses, each entails ‘frozen’ displays of how these people lived together in typical common housing, striving to earn their own means of living beyond their homeland, and eventually leaving behind the kind of life that no longer exists in Singapore today. The experience may be a bit surreal, with an existing location to tell the story and frozen scenes to re-create the atmosphere, possibly digging up a hint of nostalgia for those who had lived in a similar era.
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Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum

13) Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum

The Buddhist Culture Museum displays Buddhist artefacts from the Asia region, showcasing its rich history and culture and beautifully presenting Buddha’s way of life. Take some time off from the modern city life and savour the quiet moment as you step in from the hustle and bustle of Chinatown. A gentle note of caution though: Visitors are required to wear appropriate attire (ie. No bare-backs, mini-skirts etc.) and no non-vegetarian food and pets inside the Temple. A great stop-over to complete your visit in Singapore’s Chinatown!
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Peranakan Museum

14) Peranakan Museum

This museum presents to you all about Peranakan Culture, beautifully-displayed in its 10 galleries spread over three floors of an old school building. The origins of the Peranakans came from Southeast Asia traders who settled in Singapore and married local women, producing a unique hybrid of culture. You can learn a whole lot in this intimate visit. Explore their famously intricate beadwork and embroidery as well as their cuisine and dining customs. Learn more about their origins, the way they lived, as well as an expansive display of wedding affairs.
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The Maritime Experiential Museum

15) The Maritime Experiential Museum

Explore Asia's rich maritime history and travel back in a 'real' voyage during those early seafaring years when trade plied vibrantly in the region. Otherwise simply called the Maritime Museum to many, this museum located in the Resorts World Sentosa area is one that really suits visitors of all ages, with an array of interactive exhibits. Kids in particular, will especially love the open displays learning about how trade links places all over the world. Additionally, as the admission ticket is included in the S.E.A. Aquarium One-Day Pass, this is a great two-in-one spot for many visitors where you can easily spend about half a day here. To have a look at several replica of ships used in those early days, take a short walk outside just along the side of the entrance (you would be seeing mainland Singapore on your right).

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