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Singapore's Top National Museums and Heritage Institutions

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by Lionel (subscribe)
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Published August 5th 2014
Guide to the 8 National Museums and Heritage Institutions of Singapore

national heritage board museums
Photo courtesy of National Heritage Board


Chat with most visitors and locals about the top attractions in Singapore and you will often hear places like the Night Safari, Singapore Flyer, Sentosa, Marina Bay Sands, Chinatown and Gardens by the Bay. The island state is also home to many museums and heritage institutions which preserve and celebrate a shared heritage which is uniquely Singapore.

national heritage board i love museums
Photo courtesy of National Heritage Board


Managed by the National Heritage Board, a collection of 8 sites tell the story of Singapore and its people. They also educate the public, foster cultural understanding and support nation building through their collections, exhibitions and programmes.
national museum of singapore
Photo courtesy of National Heritage Board

To encourage greater local interest in the past, present and future of the nation, admission to 7 national museums and heritage institutions are FREE to all Singaporeans and Permanent Residents.

Visitors also get a good deal with the 3-Day Museum Pass directly available at any of the venues. It provides 3 days of unlimited access to 6 museums including the National Museum of Singapore, Peranakan Museum, Singapore Philatelic Museum, Singapore Art Museum, Asian Civilisations Museum and Reflections at Bukit Chandu. Family passes cost only $50 for up to 5 persons and individual passes are $20.

So take advantage of the FREE or affordable offers and enjoy a leisurely stroll through Singapore's unique history and heritage at these remarkable venues.

National Museum of Singapore

national museum of singapore
Photo courtesy of National Museum of Singapore


This neo-Palladian white building is the crown of Singapore's museums. It was established in 1887 when Singapore was still part of the Straits Settlements under the British colonial rule. The nation's oldest and largest museum is the custodian of 12 National Treasures such as the Singapore Stone and a Peranakan coffin cover. presents permanent exhibitions on Singapore history and popular culture, alongside changing exhibitions.

national museum of singapore
Photo courtesy of National Museum of Singapore


The National Museum of Singapore is the place to start for any visitor or local looking to learn more about the history of the island state. Its Singapore History and Living Galleries redefines conventional visitor experience with state-of-the-art multimedia technology to present history. A tablet and headphone will allow you to hear all the stories behind the exhibits. The Museum also hosts festivals and events throughout the year including changing exhibitions on world history and popular culture, art installations, performances and film screenings.

national museum of singapore
Photo courtesy of National Museum of Singapore


Special Offers: 50% off admissions for foreign students and foreign visitors aged 60 years and above / $30 for family of up to 5 persons / FREE admission to Singapore Living Galleries between 6pm to 8pm daily / Phone 6332 3659 to inquire about FREE daily guided tours.

Opening Hours: Singapore History Gallery - 10am to 6pm Daily (last entry at 5.30pm) / Singapore Living Galleries - 10am to 8pm Daily (last entry at 7.30pm)

Website: www.nationalmuseum.sg

Asian Civilisations Museum

Asian Civilisations Museum
Photo courtesy of Asian Civilisations Museum


Located in the historic Empress Place Building by the Singapore River is the treasury of Singapore's diverse cultural roots as well as the rich artistic heritage of Asia. It is the first museum in the region to address pan-Asian cultures and civilisations from a broad yet integrated perspective. There are different zones and interactive spaces filled with art and artefacts from all over Asia including Southeast Asia, China, South Asia and West Asia.

Asian Civilisations Museum
Photo courtesy of Asian Civilisations Museum


The Museum also hosts education programmes and special exhibitions that showcase Asia's cultural heritage, making it the place to go to experience the richness of ethnicities and religions found in the region.

Asian Civilisations Museum
Photo courtesy of Asian Civilisations Museum


Special Offers: 50% off admissions for foreign students and foreign visitors aged 60 years and above / Discounted admission on Fridays between 7pm to 9pm / Phone 6332 7798 to inquire about FREE daily guided tours.

Opening Hours: 10am to 7pm Daily (till 9pm on Friday)

Website: www.acm.org.sg

Peranakan Museum

Peranakan Museum
Photo courtesy of Peranakan Museum


Housed in the former Tao Nan School campus, which features a neoclassical design inspired by the French Renaissance, is the world's first national Peranakan museum. The Peranakan Museum showcases the vibrant heritage and culture of the Babas and Nyonyas, a fusion of ethnic Chinese, Malay and Indian elements that are indigenous to Singapore and Southeast Asia. It is a depository of the finest and most comprehensive collection of Peranakan artefacts in the world.

Peranakan Museum
Photo courtesy of Peranakan Museum


10 permanent galleries explore aspects of Peranakan life from cradle to grave. Highlights include the elaborate 12-day Peranakan wedding and influence on Singapore food. State-of-the-art display technology, and interactive educational exhibits help visitors to enjoy the rich material legacy and heritage of the Peranakans.

Peranakan Museum
Photo courtesy of Peranakan Museum


Special Offers: 50% off admissions for foreign students and foreign visitors aged 60 years and above / Discounted admission on Fridays between 7pm to 9pm / Phone 6332 7591 to inquire about FREE daily guided tours.

Opening Hours: 10am to 7pm Daily (till 9pm on Friday)

Website: www.peranakanmuseum.sg

Reflections at Bukit Chandu

reflections at bukit chandu
Photo courtesy of National Heritage Board


Located in a restored black and white colonial bungalow among the lush greenery of Bukit Chandu or Opium Hill is a World War II interpretive centre. This boutique museum pays tribute to the brave men from the Malay Regiment or Askar Melayu who fought unto death against the Japanese invasion. The former battle site in close proximity to the Centre is where 1,400 soldiers from the 1st and 2nd Battalion stood to the last man against the 13,000-strong Japanese army in the Battle of Pasir Panjang.

Mr Mohammad Haji Eunos (left) Mr Ujang Mormin (right) infront of the Bust of Lt Adnan Saidi at Reflections at Bukit Chandu
Mr Mohammad Haji Eunos (left) Mr Ujang Mormin (right) infront of the Bust of Lt Adnan Saidi at Reflections at Bukit Chandu / Photo courtesy of National Heritage Board


Visitors can experience one of Singapore's important events before Japanese occupation through the exhibits depicting Japanese invasion plans alongside photographs, strategic maps and documents detailing the life of the Malay Regiment, the allied forces from Britain, Australia and India, and the defense of Singapore.

Special Offers: $1 admissions for foreign students and foreign visitors aged 60 years and above

Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 9am to 5.30pm

Website:www.nhb.gov.sg/NHBPortal/Museums/ReflectionsatBukitChandu

Singapore Art Museum

Singapore Art Museum
Photo courtesy of Singapore Art Museum


The former 19th century missionary school, St Joseph's Institution, now houses one of the world's largest public collections of modern and contemporary Southeast Asian artworks as well as the national contemporary art collection of Singapore. This state-of-the-art museum advocates and presents the contemporary art practices of Asia, situating them within the global context of art making today.

Singapore Art Museum
Photo courtesy of Singapore Art Museum


In addition to presenting one of the most important contemporary art collections in the region, it is introducing the public to new artistic practices and styles and nurturing a discerning audience through public lectures. The museum also organises education, exchange and research through worldwide links with international museums,arts and cultural institutions such as Louvre Museum, Guggenheim Museum, Shanghai Art Museum, Seoul National University Museum of Art, Hong Kong Museum of Art and many others.

Singapore Art Museum
Photo courtesy of Singapore Art Museum


Special Offers: 50% off admissions for foreign students and foreign visitors aged 60 years and above / Discounted admission on Fridays between 7pm to 9pm / Phone 6332 3222 or 6332 3200 to inquire about FREE daily guided tours.

Opening Hours: 10am to 7pm Daily (till 9pm on Friday)

Website: www.singaporeartmuseum.sg

Malay Heritage Centre

Malay Heritage Centre
Photo courtesy of Malay Heritage Centre


Built 160 years ago by Sultan Ali, the son of Sultan Hussein Shah, the sprawling grounds of the Istana Kampong Glam continues to play an important role in the nation's history today. The historic royal seat of the Malay sultans in Singapore is home to the Malay Heritage Centre.

Malay Heritage Centre
Photo courtesy of Malay Heritage Centre


The Centre's treasury of artifacts and murals across 9 galleries showcase the heritage, culture, history and contributions of Malay Singaporeans to local society and nation-building. Multimedia displays bring to life the history of Kampong Gelam as a bustling port town.

Special Offers: $2 admissions for foreign students, foreign visitors aged 60 years and above and children aged 12 years and below.

Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 6pm

Website: www.malayheritage.org.sg

Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall

Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall
Photo courtesy of National Heritage Board


Previously known as Sun Yat Sen villa, the double-storey historic house was gazetted as a national monument in 1994 and renamed as Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall. Also known as Wan Qing Yuan, this boutique museum was the former headquarters of the historical Chinese Revolutionary Alliance, which facilitated the 1911 Chinese Revolution, a nationalist democratic revolt that that ended the Qing dynastic rule and created a republic in 1912.

Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall
Photo courtesy of National Heritage Board


Dr Sun Yat Sen was the leader of the 1911 Chinese revolution and a pivotal figure in the history of China and Southeast Asia. The galleries weave a rich story of the man, his works and traces his revolutionary activities in Southeast Asia. Visitor can also learn about the relationship between Singaporean Chinese and Mainland Chinese in the 1911 Chinese Revolution, Singapore's key community leaders in the early 20th century, Singapore's contributions to the Revolution, and its impact on Singapore as a base for the Revolution.

Special Offers: $2 admissions for foreign students, foreign visitors aged 60 years and above.

Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm

Website: www.sysnmh.org.sg

Singapore Philatelic Museum



This gallery allows visitors to discover the world through postage stamps. It is the first of its kind in the region, showcasing the philatelic heritage and postal artifacts of Singapore since the Straits Settlement era.



The colourful and interactive exhibitions offer families a fun way to find out more about other countries and Singapore, including some of the finest and most comprehensive collections of early Singapore from the 1830s to post-independence.



There are also special themed events including a DC Comics Super Heroes exhibition and another dedicated to horses. The Singapore Philatelic Museum is the place where stamps are the window to the history, heritage, cultures and significant events of a nation.

Special Offers: $5 admissions for foreign students and foreign visitors aged 60 years and above.

Opening Hours: Monday, 1pm to 7pm / Tuesday to Sunday, 9.30am to 7pm

Website: www.singaporeartmuseum.sg
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Why? Where else can you Singapore's history and cultural heritage?
When: Refer to each venue
Phone: 1800 225 5642
Where: Various venues around Singapore
Cost: Refer to each venue / Free admission for Singaporeans and Permanent Residents
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