Five unique museums in Singapore you need to visit

While the National Museum and the Singapore Art Museum are pretty much national icons of the arts scene in Singapore, the island is also home to a few other smaller, but still immensely fascinating, museums.

Moreover, museums are the perfect weekend plan for the days where the weather is too hot for outdoor activities!

Here are five uniquely themed museums that you should check out:

Asian Civilisations Museum

Photo courtesy: Asian Civilisations Museum
Photo courtesy: Asian Civilisations Museum

If you love learning about different cultures, this museum is a must-visit. In 2016, was named the top museum in Singapore and ranked ninth in Asia by TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice awards for Museums.

The Asian Civilisations Museum showcases the cultural heritage of Asia, especially the ancestral cultures of Singaporeans. These include China, Southeast Asia, India, and the Islamic world. It is one of the national museums under the Singapore Heritage Board.

Photo courtesy: Wikimedia
Photo courtesy: Wikimedia

On a regular basis, there will also be special exhibitions that expand on the themes of the museums. These often showcase artifacts borrowed from museums and institutions around the world.

Asian Civilisations Museum
1 Empress Place, Singapore 179555
Open 10am-7pm Sat-Thur, 10am-9pm on Fri

Peranakan museum

Photo courtesy: yoursingapore.com
Photo courtesy: yoursingapore.com

This museum is a sister museum to the Asian Civilisations Museum, specialising in Peranakan culture. It is also the first museum of its kind in the world.

Peranakans are people of mixed Chinese and Malay/Indonesian heritage. They are the descendants of Chinese immigrants who came to the Malay archipelago between the 15th and the 17th centuries. Most of them generally subscribed to Chinese belief systems like ancestor worship and Taoism, but at the same time assimilated the language and culture of the Malays.

Photo courtesy: justgola.com
Photo courtesy: justgola.com

The Peranakan museum will give you an insight into the life of this culture that is unique to the region. Housing a beautiful collection of Peranakan artefacts in ten galleries across three storeys, the museum brings to life the intricacies of this southeast Asian culture.

Highlights include stories of prominent Peranakans, and exhibits of the 12-day Peranakan wedding, as well as beautiful Nyonya Sarong Kebayas.

Peranakan Museum
39 Armenian Street, Singapore 179941
Open 10am-7pm Sat-Thur, 10am – 9pm on Fri

Philatelic Museum

The Singapore Philatelic Museum’s collections range from stamps and archival philatelic material of Singapore from the 1830s to present day, and stamps from member countries of the Universal Postal Union. It was also the first philatelic museum in Southeast Asia.

Photo courtesy: spm.org.sg
Photo courtesy: spm.org.sg

The permanent exhibitions aim to show you the world philately – the world's first stamp, and how stamps are a window to the world. They also have interesting seasonal exhibitions, and fun hands-on galleries for kids.

Philatelic Museum
23-B Coleman Street, Singapore 179807
Open daily 10am-7pm

MINT Museum of Toys

Photo courtesy: lowsweetling.com
Photo courtesy: lowsweetling.com

The MINT Museum of Toys showcases a collection of vintage toys and collectable items that will definitely speak to the inner child in you. They are displayed across the rooftop, basement and 4 thematic levels of the museum: Outerspace, Characters, Childhood Favourites and Collectables.

In addition to toys, the museum also houses a collection of confectionary vintage tin boxes, large-item displays, such as Mobo horses and pedal cars, as well as original enamel advertising signs. 

Photo courtesy: traveldilse.com
Photo courtesy: traveldilse.com

The museum serves to fascinate and inspire the imaginations of audiences, taking them to on a journey of rediscovery to rekindle that Moment of Imagination and Nostalgia with Toys (MINT). In addition, the toys also tell the story of the era in which they are created.

This place is sure to bring delight to both adults and kids.

MINT Museum of Toys
26 Seah Street, Singapore 188382
Open daily 9.30am-6.30pm

Art science museum

Situated at Marina Bay Sands, ArtScience Museum is that lotus-shaped structure that you would see as you stroll down the Downtown riverside area. The exhibitions here explores the creative processes at the heart of art and science, and their role in shaping society.

Photo courtesy: yoursingapore
Photo courtesy: yoursingapore

Permanent exhibits include objects indicative of the accomplishments of both the arts and the sciences through the ages, along the lines of Leonardo da Vinci’s Flying Machine, a Kongming Lantern, and a high-tech robotic fish.

The interesting thing about the architecture of the museum is that rainwater is harvested and channeled down the centre of the building. It then flows through its bowl-shaped roof into a reflecting pond at the lowest level of the building. The rainwater is then recycled for use in the building's restrooms.

You can check out their website for ongoing exhibitions.

ArtScience Museum
6 Bayfront Ave, Singapore 018974
Open daily 10am-7pm

Author
Kareyst Lin
Kareyst Lin – Senior Writer

Kareyst has experience in writing about B2B technology for Computerworld Singapore, MIS Asia and CIO Asia; and on government technology for GCIO Asia. Her pet areas are artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and smart cities - these are fueled by her obsession with sci-fi movies and philosophy of mind. 

Sometimes she writes with light. 

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