Despite being geographically small, Singapore has a rich history that came together as a result of its diverse heritage. The city has ancient artifacts, science, culture that is worthy of seeing if you are planning to visit Singapore anytime soon or even if you live here. You will be surprised to find out that there are a lot of speciality museums here with several exhibits that are unique to Singapore.
If you are unfamiliar with the city and want to learn more about the culture, history or simply love the sciences, you must know the list of the best museums in Singapore to visit and learn from. So make reservations for some exhibits or simply spend one day on your next weekend learning about this amazing city.
Check out some of the best museums in Singapore and what they have to offer below.
Museums in Singapore MUST VISIT
#1 – The National Museum of Singapore
The National Museum of Singapore tops the list because it is the city’s oldest museum. It was first opened in 1887 along Stamford Road and was called the Raffles Library and Museum. Over a century and a half old, this museum walks you through the development of Singapore via engaging conversations. This magnificent 19th century Neo-Palladium architecture has a mesmerising tale of its own and is a must visit place if you are in Singapore. At this museum, you can learn about the city-state’s history beginning from the 13th century in a fun interactive way. The National Museum of Singapore is a great place to find out the pre-British history of Singapore.
#2 – Singapore Art Museum
The Singapore Art Museum displays an amazing collection of rotating local as well as other Southeast Asian contemporary artwork. This museum is located along Bras Basah Road and Singapore’s first Catholic school: St Joseph’s Institution was once run from its well-maintained grounds and buildings. The former school building, i.e. the 8Q at SAM on Queen Street has now been revamped into a space that is now used for screening films. If you are visiting around the time for Singapore Biennale, don’t miss a trip to this museum as they showcase the finest contemporary artworks and other installations from the South Asian region. Enjoy the architecture as well as the grounds at this fine museum during your time in Singapore.
#3 – National Gallery Singapore
Although this is not a museum in the traditional sense, the National Gallery Singapore has an impressive collection of over 8,000 modern Southeast Asian artworks. This gallery is known to have one of the largest public collections in the world. Here you will find the some of the key works of popular Singaporean artists including Georgette Chen, Liu Kang and Cheong Soo Pieng among others. The National Gallery Singapore is among the forerunners when it comes to the Nanyang art style, which has its roots in traditional Chinese materials but is influenced by Western oil painting styles. Apart from the fine art, you can also enjoy the architectural masterpieces here as this gallery is located in two key historical buildings, the former Supreme Court and the City Hall, both of which are now conservation space.
#4 – ArtScience Museum
The ArtScience Museum is a marvelous architecture shaped like a half-unfurled white lotus flower. This beauty of this building is complemented by the view of Marina Bay overlooking the Helix Bridge. The ArtScience Museum has been known to organize internationally acclaimed exhibitions that explore a combination of technology and culture. In the past, the museum has collaborated with organizations like Dreamworks Animation and the Smithsonian Institute to present fabulous collections and shows. FutureWorld: The intersection of Art and Science, is the permanent exhibition of this museum that is open all year round. This interactive multimedia extravaganza has been designed by Japanese collective teamlab and is quite popular among Instagram users.
#5 – Asian Civilisations Museum
The Asian Civilisations Museum is the centre for Singapore’s multicultural roots and houses an impressive collection of artefacts from the region. Want to discover the different ethnicities that now reside city-state? The Asian Civilisations Museum is a great place to embark upon this exploratory journey. The museum also overlooks a beautiful view as it is located at the mouth of the Singapore River. Originally, this location was the centre of trade in this region that connected it to the rest of the world.
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#6 – National Design Centre
If you are into designs, the National Design Centre is a haven you’ll fall in love with. Located in the Bras Basah-Bugis arts and culture district, this museum was originally the St. Anthony’s convent and has a heritage of its own. This museum has retained most of its exterior decoration, however, the interior has been transforming into a space that sees a rotating lineup of events showcasing Singapore’s design scene. The permanent exhibit in this museum is 50 Years of Singapore Design. It is a quick history lesson that tell you about the evolution of Singaporean design. Another attraction is the lifestyle boutique Kapok on the first level of the museum that sells products designed by local and regional designers. Here you can choose from a range of fashion and household accessories.
#7 – Peranakan Museum – Singapore
The Peranakan Museum is the place that showcases the hybrid culture that makes Singapore such a unique place in the Malayan region. Peranakan culture resulted from marriages between the indigenous Malay communities and immigrant Chinese traders. These customs started hundreds of years ago resulted in the diverse culturization of Singapore and evolution of their delicious cuisine. In this museum you will find one of the best collections of Peranakan artefacts in the world. Visitors can learn practices and traditions that are unique to this culture. You can also enjoy some amazing cultural tales here and the history of Peranakans in Singapore’s history through interactive multimedia exhibits.
#8 – Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum
Singapore’s natural history museum is a great place for nature geeks who want to learn about flora and fauna found in the Southeast Asian region. Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum has some natural specimens dating as far back as the late 1800s. Some other major attractions at this museum are the three huge diplodocid sauropod dinosaur skeletons located in the main atrium that have been nicknamed ‘Prince’, ‘Apollonia’ and ‘Twinky’. The museum also has the skeleton of a sperm whale named ‘Jubilee’, that caused a stir in the city when it washed up on the shores of Singapore in 2015. The rock-like structure of the museum creates a vision as if the museum is covered with plants that are native to Singapore’s coastal cliffs.
#9 – Singapore Science Centre
If you are travelling with kids, the Singapore Science Centre is one of the most inspiring places that you can take them. This place is quite popular with school groups as it organises more than 1,000 interactive science exhibits across 14 galleries in a fun way to entertain children for an entire day and encourage them to learn. The Science Centre also comprises the Omni-Theatre, which is Singapore’s only domed IMAX theatre where watching documentaries on nature is quite a surreal experience. If you are tired of the tropical heat in Singapore, this museum has an amazing place called the Snow City where you can enjoy the snow in sub-zero temperatures.
#10 – Singapore Philatelic Museum
Singapore Philatelic Museum houses a collection of philatelic materials of Singapore that they have been collected from the 1830s to the present day. You will also find an excellent collection of stamps here that have been brought together from member countries of the Universal Postal Union. Singapore Philatelic Museum is also a working post office and you can find some amazing postcards here and maybe send out some to friends overseas. If you are in luck, you’ll be able to find exclusive exhibitions that you can enjoy during your stay in the city. However, if you are a native, keep an eye out for them.
#11 – MINT Museum of Toys
Who says museums are just for adults. Take your children to the amazing MINT Museum of Toys and explore the most brilliant toy collection collected from over 25 countries across the world. Some of the toys in this museum age over 100 years old and have stories of their own that will surprise you. Although some of the toys may be difficult for children to appreciate, they will definitely bring back memories for you.
Visiting Museums in Singapore
They say there’s no better way to learn the history of a place than visiting a museum. Although that is true, there’s a lot that these best museums in Singapore offer. From splendid architecture to distinctive exhibits, you can enjoy a variety of things at these purveyors of history. So be bewitched and learn amazing things while you visit these best museums in Singapore.