SINGAPORE'S BEST MUSEUMS

For a small island, Singapore is home to a surprisingly large number of museums. We take you through the ten most well-known (and unusual) of them. 

ArtScience Museum

A crystal universe is the centrepiece of Future World, a permanent exhibition at the lotus-shaped ArtScience Museum (ASM) in Marina Bay Sands. But there’s far more to the museum, which fuses art, science, design, architecture and technology. That means discovering the future of AI, perusing natural history artefacts or immersing yourself in cutting-edge digital installations – all within one space. Past blockbuster touring exhibitions include Andy Warhol: 15 Minutes Eternal, Harry Potter: The Exhibition and NASA: A Human Adventure.

ArtScience Museum is at 6 Bayfront Ave. Daily 10am-7pm. $12-$38. 
 

 

National Gallery Singapore

Once the site of two national monuments – the former Supreme Court and City Hall – the National Gallery Singapore is today home to the largest public collection of modern art in Singapore and Southeast Asia. Past shows include Yayoi Kusama: Life is the Heart of a Rainbow and Century of Light, which featured the works of Monet, Renoir, Cézanne and Indonesian painter Raden Saleh.

National Gallery Singapore is at 1 St Andrew’s Rd. Mon-Thu, Sat & Sun 10am-7pm; Fri 10am-9pm. Free-$20.
 

 

MINT Museum of Toys

A museum of collectors’ toys? Yes, please. Like its name, MINT Museum of Toys truly is a thing of wonder, with a collection spanning over 50,000 items. Of these, 8,500 are on display across four thematic levels – Outerspace, Characters, Childhood Favourites and Collectables – including a sizeable Popeye collection that extends as far back as the '30s. You’ll also find an Enamel Sign Gallery on the rooftop and basement of the space.

MINT Museum of Toys is at 26 Seah St. Daily 9.30am-6.30pm. $7.50-$15 (excluding GST). 
 

 

Asian Civilisations Museum

To understand the ancestral cultures of Singaporeans, the Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) brings together a unique yet concise collection from all over Asia. Sculptures, pottery and calligraphy are spread across three thematic floors that cover maritime trade, the spread of religion in Asia and an exploration of textile traditions. The Empress Place Building within which ACM sits has, in itself, rich roots in Singapore’s history: it once held government offices, and was one of the city’s first civic buildings to be constructed. 

Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) is at 1 Empress Pl. Daily 10am-7pm. Mon-Thu, Sat & Sun 10am-7pm; Fri 10am-9pm. Free-$20. 
 

 

National Museum of Singapore

Singapore’s oldest museum houses far more history than its façade lets on. The National Museum building was in fact a library when it opened in 1849 – and the exhibitions within chart the island’s 700-year history, from fishing village to eventual independence and, today, metropolis. Admire a real-life national treasure – the Singapore Stone, a 13th-century slab that once stood at the mouth of the Singapore River – before popping by Story of the Forest, the brainchild of Japanese collective teamLab. From showers of (digital) flowers raining overhead to animals from the William Farqhuar Collection of Natural History Drawings coming to life, it’s fun for the family and couples alike. 

The National Museum of Singapore is at 93 Stamford Rd. Daily 10am-7pm. Free-$15.



Parkview Museum

Singapore’s own Gotham City building isn’t just for looks, despite the Salvador Dali sculptures fronting its façade. Housed within is Parkview Museum, which features rotating solo and group exhibitions – whether contemporary art sculptures, digital installations or photographs, some of which are from the Group’s extensive collection.

Parkview Museum is at 600 North Bridge Rd, Level 3. Mon-Sat noon-7pm. Free.  



Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Sauropod dinosaurs are the highlight of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, located within the National University of Singapore. But to truly appreciate these fossils, the museum carries you through an exploration of Southeast Asia’s diverse ecosystem with over 2,000 specimens and displays.

Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum is at 2 Conservatory Dr. Tue-Sun 10am-7pm. $9-$21.
 

 

Singapore Philatelic Museum

Stamps may be a fast-fading necessity on postal packages, but the Singapore Philatelic Museum is both a collector’s and enthusiast’s dream. Starting with Singapore’s postal history, the museum carries visitors through private collections and thematic exhibitions, including fun tributes to pop culture through the beauty of the stamp. In an age of digital communication, it’s a humble reminder of the simple pleasures of a posted letter. 

Singapore Philatelic Museum is at 23-B Coleman St. Daily 10am-7pm. Free-$8. 



Peranakan Museum 

The Peranakans – also known as Straits Chinese – are descendants of Chinese immigrants to Indonesia and British Malaya, but their rich heritage delves far deeper than that. Uncover traditions of their culture through all manner of artefacts including homeware, clothing and furniture, at one of the most unique museums in the world. 

The Peranakan Museum is at 39 Armenian St. Mon-Thu, Sat & Sun 10am-7pm; Fri 10am-9pm. Free-$10. 
 
 

Singapore Art Museum

Its building once housed St Joseph’s Institution, a 19th century mission school for boys – but today, the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) holds an extensive collection of Southeast Asian art from modern and contemporary artists. Beyond exhibitions, though, SAM has regular film screenings, dialogue sessions and lectures and, occasionally, art markets with wares by local makers. 

Singapore Art Museum is at 71 Bras Basah Rd. Mon-Thu, Sat & Sun 10am-7pm; Fri 10am-9pm. Free-$6.