A visit to Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) – one of Singapore’s most acclaimed national museums – is a great way to take a journey through the interesting pan-Asian arts and culture scene. The first as well as one of its kind in the country, Asian Civilisations Museum was developed with the prime objective to provide a deep insight into the diverse Asian cultures whose integration, in turn, is the rich base for the present multi-ethnic society in Singapore.
Established in 1997 in the Old Tao Nan School building on the Armenia Street mainly with displays inherited from the Raffles Library and Museum, the ACM later widened its collection with the opening of its flagship museum in 2003 in the restored Empress Place Building – a fine example of neo-Palladian architecture. After the renovation from 2006 to 2008, the museum’s Armenia Street branch was officially opened to preserve art and artifacts exclusively from the Peranakan culture.
Asian Civilisations Museum Highlights
Asian Civilisations Museum, sprawling over an area of 14,000sqm, has 1,000 plus artifacts in its 11 galleries on three levels in the Empress Place Building. Being the only museum in the region that is dedicated to the Asian civilisation, the museum enables you to explore an extensive selection of relics on Southeast Asian, South Asian, Chinese and West Asian cultures – most of which date back to more than 5,000 years ago.
Spread over three galleries: 3, 4 and 4a, the vast Southeast Asian exhibits are categorized into different themes such as pre-history, tribal history, vernacular Buddhism, the Malay world and Javanese history. The West Asian artifacts that largely reflect the Islamic culture can be seen in the galleries: 5 and 5a. A tour to gallery 6 with exciting displays like Dragon Robe, imperial porcelains, white Dehua porcelains and Buddhists statues of 7th century allows you to take a peep into the ancient Chinese civilisation.
The museum’s 7th and 8th galleries are occupied by a huge ensemble of South Asian objects collected from early civilizations, such as terracotta figurines, coins, wall-hanging panels, Indian bronzes, Buddhist stupas and stone sculptures of Hindu gods. Above all, a must-see segment of the museum is Singapore River Gallery that has on view items excavated from the mouth of the Singapore River.
Each themed gallery in the museum comes with ‘guideposts’ by way of videos and interactive ‘ExploreAsian’ zones in order to provide you a better understanding on the complex facets of Asian culture. Apart from these, the museum holds events like special exhibitions, instructive programmes and festivals throughout the year. In short, the ACM’s slogan, ‘The Asian Civilisations Museum – Where Asian Cultures Come Alive!’ lives up to the mark in every sense.
Good to Know
Asian Civilisations Museum is situated on the northern shores of the Singapore River in the Civic District, and is easily accessible from City Hall MRT Station that forms part of the country’s North South Line and East West Line. Owned and operated by the Asian Civilisations Museum, Peranakan Museum that is otherwise referred to as the ACM I, is just 15 minutes from the Empress Place Building (ACM II).
Asian Civilisations Museum
- Opening Hours: Daily 10:00 - 19:00 (Fridays close at 21:00)
- Remarks: Admission to the museum is free from 18:00 – 21:00 on Fridays. A shop, along with a restaurant and a café, is attached to the museum.
- Address: 1 Empress Place, Singapore 179555, a 5-minute walk from the Raffles Place MRT station
- Tel: +65 6332 7798