Singapore never fails to impress. With a melting-pot of cultural influences, this tiny country has well-equipped facilities and high-tech architecture, combined with a rich tapestry of Chinese and South East Asian food, language and cultural imprints.
To witness the breadth of Singaporean culture, try organizing your own museum trail; if you’re looking for an escape from the cold, late holidays exploring the historic attractions of Singapore City offer a more unusual last-minute winter break. Here are the main museums to tick off your list in Singapore.
The National Museum of Singapore
An absolute must-see for culture vultures is The National Museum of Singapore. This is the oldest and grandest museum in Singapore, dating from 1887. The enormous space is divided into two sections, the Singapore History Gallery and Singapore Living Galleries.
Sub-divided into intriguing exhibits themed around fashion, film, wayang (shadow puppets and theatre) and photography, coming here offers an intricate look into the past and present traditions that shape Singaporean life, from their world-leading fashion houses and the personal stories of everyday Singaporeans through time.
Asian Civilisations Museum
Go to the Asian Asian Civilizations Museum to experience a series of dedicated artefacts that tell the story of waves of immigration to Singapore, from other parts of the world like Islamic Asia and China. Key sections include exquisite ceramics, jewellery and wooden artefacts.
Singapore Art Museum
A more recent addition to the museum scene, the Singapore Art Museum opened in 1996 and houses contemporary art in a beautiful old colonial building. There’s a permanent collection of around 7,000 pieces of South Asian contemporary artworks, with a rotating roster of new media, performance art and sound art, to keep things fresh. This is a real must-see for fans of contemporary art.
Singapore Art Museum
Singapore Philatelic Museum
For an experience of the more quirky and off-beat, head to the Singapore Philatelic Museum. Philately is the study of stamps and postage history, and this is a museum dedicated to this most prosaic of activities. Yet the narrative of Singaporean history can be seen through the collection of these tiny postage markers, and makes for a surprisingly interesting new angle on the country’s culture.
The good news is that to get a real glimpse of Singapore, visitors don’t need to pay a small fortune. Admission fees to Singapore’s museums are around 5 to 10 Singaporean dollars; equivalent to around $4 – $7 USD. Keep your eyes peeled for special days when there’s free admission and for free events in the evenings as well.
Editor’s Note: This is a guest post