The National Museum of Singapore is not only the oldest museum but also one of the most prominent national monuments in the city/state. Formerly known as Raffles Library and Museum, the National Museum of Singapore was initially a segment of Singapore Institution’s library from 1849 to 1887 when it was moved to the present building by Colonel Sir H.E Mc Callum.
After undergoing renovation for more than three years, the museum was again opened for the public in 2006. Spanning over an area of 18,400sqm, it’s now the biggest in the country, with exhibits that largely reflect the rich history of Singapore as well as Asia.
Singapore National Museum Highlights
Housed within a neo-classical style building enhanced with modern structural designs, the museum is truly an architectural marvel boasting a breathtaking 11-metres high glass passage that enables you to tour the modern building through the old building, a unique rotunda representing meticulously restored Victorian glass works, the Canyon – the main entrance area whose distinctively textured walls are reminiscent of stratified earth and the Concourse – a noteworthy blend of classical and modern designs.
The exhibits are spread across six galleries, and the Goh Seng Choo Gallery and Singapore History Gallery have some of the museum’s most incredible stuffs. On display in the Goh Seng Choo Gallery is the William Farquhar Collection of Natural History Drawings that includes more than 450 drawings of Farquhar. As you enter the Singapore History Gallery through the striking glass rotunda, you’ll be taken on a journey through the rich history of Singapore that dates back to the 14th century. A story-telling approach is utilized in this gallery to provide a better understanding of obstacles that early inhabitants had to endure and overcome.
Additionally, there are four separate living galleries that throw light on the lifestyle and inventiveness of early Singaporean society, with exhibits on:
- Film and Wayang including early movie paraphernalia and intricate costumes of early Chinese operas.
- Photography – albums and portraits collected from more than 100 years of history.
- Food inclusive of artifacts that correspond to the ethnic multiplicity of the region, like colourful jars adorned with the reproductions of The Farquhar Prints & Drawings donated by Mr. GK Goh – the son of Farquhar and aromatic spices used to add to the flavour of local cuisines.
- Fashion related objects that echo the changing trends of Singaporean women from 1950 to 1970s.
In addition to permanent exhibits, the museum also holds special exhibitions and a variety of events in the form of public art, festivals, workshops and lecture programmes throughout the year.
National Museum of Singapore
- Opening Hours: Singapore History Gallery is open from 10:00 to 18:00 while the Goh Seng Choo Gallery and four Living Galleries are open from 10:00 to 20:00
- Remarks: Even though the entry to the museum building is free, you’ll be charged to gain access to living galleries as well as certain shows and events.
- Address: 93 Stamford Road, Singapore 178897
- Tel: +65 6332 3659
- How to get there: The museum is easily accessible with a five-minute walk from Bras Basah MRT Station or Dhoby Ghaut MRT Station. City Hall MRT Station is just 10 minutes away. Stamford Road Bus Stop and YMCA bus stop are nearby.