Museums are a great way to beat the heat (or the rain) when you’re exploring Singapore, and, of course, a fantastic way to learn about the history and culture of this island. Aside from the major museums in Singapore, these smaller museums and galleries in the city make for a pleasant diversion and contain some hidden gems and information that you might not find anywhere else in the world!

One of the better-known smaller museums in Singapore is the MINT Museum of Toys, with a more than 3000 vintage toys and memorabilia from the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s. What’s even more amazing is that all the toys are from the private collection of a single man, Chang Yang Fa. You’ll see dolls, toys and figurines from popular culture and comics, teddy bears and vintage Asian toys as well as tin boxes and enamel signs. The building itself is an architecture buff’s delight and has won international architecture awards. 

Design aficionados can head to Maxwell Road to check out the Red Dot Design Museum, which showcases more than 1000 exhibits from product and communication design from more than 150 countries. The exhibits are actually the winners of the international Red Dot Design Award and are selected by a jury, spanning themes such as futuristic design and persuasion.

The Singapore Tyler Print Institute is another smaller gallery that showcases contemporary print and paper art. It is also the home of an international artistic residency programme where artists are invited to experiment with alternative methods and materials. 

If you feel like venturing out of the city for something more unique in Singapore, check out Gillman Barracks, a contemporary art cluster which sees exhibitions from around the region and the globe. And on the eastern side of the island is the Changi Museum and Chapel, the site of the infamous prisoner-of-war camp, Changi Prison, where Commonwealth soldiers were interred during the Japanese Occupation of Singapore, and a moving tribute both to survivors and the fallen.