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National Museum of Singapore  

  Singapore , Singapore.
FREE

  • Museum and art gallery
    Category
    Museum and art gallery
  • duration
    Duration
    2 - 3 Hours
  • mobile_voucher
    Mobile Voucher
    Accepted
  • parking
    Parking
    Available
  • drinking water
    Drinking water
    Available
  • snacks counter
    Snacks counter
    Available
  • audio guide
    Audio guide
    Available
  • tour guide
    Guided Tour
    Available
  • elevator
    Elevator
    Available
  • staircase
    Staircase
    Available
  • baby friendly
    Couple
    Friendly
  • ExploreBees
    Baby
    Friendly
  • free wifi
    Free wifi
    Available
  • charging port
    Charging Point
    Available
  • restroom
    Restroom
    Available
  • sitting area
    Sitting Area
    Available
  • souvenir shop
    Souvenir shop
    Available
  • cctv
    Cctv
    Available
  • security guard
    Security guard
    Available
  • dustbin
    Dustbin
    Available

Ticket

  • adult ticket
    Adult
    FREE
  • children ticket
    Children
    FREE
  • mobile camera
    Mobile Camera
    FREE
  • still camera
    still camera
    FREE
  • video camera
    Video Camera
    FREE
  • cards accepted
    Cards
    Accepted

Description

The National Museum of Singapore is the oldest museum in Singapore. Its history dates back to 1849 when it was started as a section of a library at Singapore Institution. After several relocations, the Museum was relocated to its permanent site at Stamford Road at the Museum Planning Area in 1887. Established in 1887, the National Museum of Singapore is the country’s oldest museum, containing an impressive array of artefacts and exhibits that weave the story of Singapore’s colourful past.

The National Museum of Singapore abandons the conventional arrangement of exhibits in chronological order, instead opting to section the exhibits by themes such as film, photography, fashion, and food. These exhibits are supplemented by interactive videos that help to bring the otherwise-static artefacts in each section to life; for example, one short video in the ‘Food’ exhibit tells a heart-warming tale of how the roaming noodles hawkers of old helped to foster a budding romance in the 1970s. The rich audio, visual and interactive elements in each section help to make each section feel like a sensory immersion into Singapore’s history.

Over and above these permanent exhibits, the National Museum of Singapore also often plays host to a number of temporary exhibits of artefacts from all over the world, from Victorian wedding dresses to Ukrainian gold. Furthermore, if you plan your visit well, you might also be able to attend local arts events such as the annual Night Festival, which are usually held in or around the National Museum of Singapore due to its size and central location along Singapore’s shopping district.

The interactive exhibits and the heavy focus on story-telling at the National Museum of Singapore mean that you don’t have to be a history buff to enjoy all that the museum has to offer. Whether you’re a first-time visitor to Singapore or a local who has lived here all your life, the National Museum of Singapore is bound to capture your imagination and shed light on the inimitable Singaporean culture.

Exhibitions

1.Gallery10
Gallery10 is an experimental space where the traditionally binary ideas of art and science are both celebrated and deconstructed, and their boundaries transcended and redefined to present an immersive, multi-disciplinary exploration of the world around us.

  • Shows in Gallery10: 1.Art of the Rehearsal, 2. Moving Memories

Art of the Rehearsal: Art of the Rehearsal is a three-channel immersive video installation by multidisciplinary artist Sarah Choo Jing. This artwork depicts Singaporean dancers across various cultures practicing along the back lanes of cultural districts in the city. Reflecting on the rigorous and intense training behind the performance, the artist seeks to bring out the consistent determination of the performers. The emphasis of the installation work is on the process rather than on the final outcome.| Show Timings: Daily from 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM | Free Admission.

Moving Memories: Featuring a selection of Yip Yew Chong’s life-sized murals, Moving Memories seeks to express the romance of “places and moments… that blend sights, sounds, smell and taste”. Savour these moments of our tangible and intangible heritage, such as barbers in back lanes, traditional kopi-making and road-side communal satay-eating, as they come alive through animation, soundscape and projection. | Show Timings: Daily from 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM | Free Admission.

  • Gallery10 Timings: 10:00 AM to 05:00 PM 
  • Entry Fee: Free for Singapore Citizen & Permanent Resident |Standard Adult: SGD 15 | Senior (60 years and above) SGD 10. 

2.Growing Up

Set against the larger historical context of Singapore’s early years as a young nation, this gallery offers the parallel societal changes in the tumultuous 1950s and 1960s through the kampung, school and entertainment venues.

This gallery offers insight on the experiences of growing up in Singapore during the 1950s and 1960s through familiar social spaces where children would have spent most of their time. In kampongs (Malay for “villages”), schools and popular entertainment values, children found friendships and experienced an emerging local identity. Through personal anecdotes and interactive installations, relive the gotong-royong (Malay for “community”) spirit that laid the foundation of a multi-racial Singapore and girded its post-war generation as they forged their dreams and aspirations.

  • Timings: Daily from 10:00 AM to 07:00 PM
  • Last admission at 6.30pm
  • Entry Ticket: Free admission for Singaporeans, Permanent Residents and visitors aged 6 years and below |Standard Adult: SGD 15 | Senior (60 years and above) SGD 10. 

3.History of the National Museum of Singapore

This mural was painted over four days in a style inspired by the 19th-century landscape paintings held by the National Museum of Singapore (NMS), and presents the Museum’s rich history and collection.The Museum’s origins as the Raffles Library and Museum are depicted at the bottom – the Singapore Library that began on 22 January 1845 in the Singapore Institution (now Raffles Institution), the Temenggong of Johor’s donation of two gold coins in 1849 which marked the start of the museum’s collection, and the Library and Museum’s move to the Town Hall (now Victoria Theatre) before insufficient space led them back to the Singapore Institution in 1876.
A selection of the Museum’s collection is featured in the middle tier of the mural. The tiger is reminiscent of the Museum’s zoological collection, which included a stuffed Malayan tiger that was displayed in the Museum’s rotunda in the early 1900s. The landscape is a partial reproduction of Singapore from Mount Wallich (1856, painted by Percy Carpenter), which the Museum acquired in the 1950s when it incorporated an art gallery in its spaces. Animals from the Museum’s prized William Farquhar Collection of Natural History Drawings can also be found in this mural: the Malayan Tapir and Lesser Mousedeer are caught “trespassing” on Mount Wallich, while a Scaly-breasted Munia and a pair of Blue-tailed Bee-eaters are perched on the tree branches above the Museum building. Visit the Singapore History Gallery (Level 1) to see the actual painting by Percy Carpenter, and the Desire and Danger exhibition in the Goh Seng Choo Gallery and Story of the Forest to learn more about the William Farquhar Collection of Natural History Drawings.
  • Timings: Daily from 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Last admission: 6:30 OM 
  • Entry Fee: Free admission
4.Magic and Menace
Step into the newly refreshed Goh Seng Choo gallery and explore the world of magic and supernatural beliefs as practiced by traditional Southeast Asian societies. Engage in a multisensory discovery experience of plants and animals prized by traditional healers, and learn how they are used for their curative powers or their symbolic or "magical" properties.
  • Timings10:00 AM to 07:00 PM
  • Last admission: 6.30pm
  • Entry Fee: Free admission for Singaporeans, Permanent Residents, and visitors aged 6 years and below |Standard Adult: SGD 15 | Senior (60 years and above) SGD 10. 
5.Modern Colony
by the end of the 19th century, Singapore was already a global city brought about by an influx of people, ideas and goods from Asia and Europe. This gallery explores the cosmopolitan nature of Singapore as a British Crown colony from the late 1920s to 1930s.
With more educational opportunities for girls and the arrival of female immigrants from China in the 1920s, women began to occupy more visible public roles in a previously patriarchal society. Some of these women later made important contributions in various women’s causes, such as education and charity, which helped to enhance the welfare of women at that time.
Through an array of personal belongings ranging from richly embroidered cheongsams, intricately crafted shoes to simple personal trinkets, discover how both the affluent Straits-born and migrant Chinese fought to express their modern identities and the challenges they faced in working out their roles.
  • Timings10:00 AM to 07:00 PM
  • Last admission: 6.30pm
  • Entry Fee: Free admission for Singaporeans, Permanent Residents, and visitors aged 6 years and below |Standard Adult: SGD 15 | Senior (60 years and above) SGD 10. 

6. Singapore History Gallery

The Singapore History Gallery’s updated narrative charts the development of the island as it was known through the years as Singapura, a Crown Colony, Syonan-To, and finally, Singapore.

  • Singapura (1299 – 1818): Geologists have found that the oldest rock formations on Singapore date back to the Paleozoic Era. From prehistoric tools found in Western Singapore and Pulau Ubin, an island off Singapore, a settlement may have existed as early as several thousand years ago. The earliest written records to have mentioned Singapore describe it as a thriving port in the 14th century. It was known by different names then: the Chinese traders called it Danmaxi (Temasik or Temasek), while in the Sejarah Melayu (The Malay Annals), it was called Singapura. Possibly ruled by an elite class who lived on what is now Fort Canning Hill, Singapore was connected by trade and politics to not only the Malay Archipelago but also Siam (Thailand), China and India. Learn about the commonly traded items such as ceramics and hornbill casques, as well as Singapore’s inhabitants and their ways of life.
  • Crown Colony (1819 – 1941): In 1819, Sir Stamford Raffles and Major William Farquhar arrived in Singapore. They struck a deal with the local Malay rulers to set up a British trading port, which Raffles declared would be “open to ships and vessels of every nation free of duty”. This brought in traders and ships from as far away as Arabia and Africa. Singapore became a Crown colony in 1867. As the British empire flourished, so did Singapore. By 1919, Singapore was a modern city, boasting the second largest dry dock in the world with modern conveniences such as electricity, motorcars, and international telegraph and telephone connections. Here, you will discover key historical figures and how they helped to catapult Singapore to become the center of trade in Southeast Asia by the 1850s. You can also catch a glimpse of the migrants’ customs and way of life, complete with a replica of the opium dens they used to frequent.
  • Syonan-To (1942 – 1945): Before World War Two began, the British had equipped Singapore with coastal guns and an air force. Singapore became known as the “Gibraltar of the East” or “Fortress Singapore”. On 8 December 1941, Singapore experienced war for the first time when the Japanese bombed the city. After a swift 70-day campaign, the Japanese defeated the British and occupied the Malay Peninsula and Singapore. Singapore was placed under military occupation and renamed Syonan-To (“Light of the South” in Japanese). The Singapore population struggled with food and fuel shortages, disease and, at its worst, violence and harassment from the Japanese. The occupation ended only when Japan surrendered to the Allies in 1945. Explore a wide range of military artifacts including weapons, uniforms and a replica of a Japanese tank used during World War Two, and trace how key events of the war unfolded. Through personal belongings, photographs and documents, discover life under the Japanese Occupation and how various individuals and groups responded with resourcefulness and fortitude during this difficult period.
  • Singapore (1945 – present):  After World War Two, a wave of decolonization began to sweep through Asia and Africa. In 1959, Singapore was granted self-government and the first general election for a fully-elected government was held. The People’s Action Party (PAP) won and its leader, Lee Kuan Yew, became Singapore’s first prime minister. Following a merger with, and then separation from, Malaysia, Singapore became a fully independent nation in 1965. Over the next two decades, the government tackled the challenges faced by the growing nation, such as unemployment and insufficient housing. It took bold steps to introduce industrialization, encourage foreign investment and tourism, provide modern public housing and education, and clean up the environment. The artifacts here provide a glimpse into some of these key developments in the years after Singapore’s independence.

  • Timings10:00 AM to 07:00 PM
  • Last admission: 6.30pm
  • Entry Fee: Free admission for Singaporeans, Permanent Residents, and visitors aged 6 years and below |Standard Adult: SGD 15 | Senior (60 years and above) SGD 10. 

7.Singapore, Very Old Tree

Created by renowned local photographer and artist Robert Zhao, this exhibit at the bottom of the Glass Rotunda showcases 17 images of trees around Singapore and highlight intimate stories of each. Aging gracefully through decades, trees create a sense of collective identity across generations. Against our changing landscape of modern skyscrapers and high-rise buildings, they stand steadfast as living memoirs of Singapore’s shared heritage. At the bottom of the Glass Rotunda is Singapore, Very Old Tree exhibition, inspired by an old postcard found in the National Archives of Singapore. The postcard depicts an unspecified tree dating back to the year 1904. Produced by renowned local photographer and artist Robert Zhao, this exhibition was first commissioned as part of the Singapore Memory Project and later exhibited as part of the nation’s SG50 celebrations. This exhibition showcases 17 images of trees around Singapore and highlights the unique stories of each, providing an alternative perspective of Singapore’s history and the personal connections that Singaporeans have with our local trees.

  • Timings10:00 AM to 07:00 PM
  • Last admission: 6.15 PM
  • Entry Fee: Free admission for Singaporeans, Permanent Residents, and visitors aged 6 years and below |Standard Adult: SGD 15 | Senior (60 years and above) SGD 10. 

8.The story of the Forest

Created by the renowned Japanese digital art collective teamLab, Story of the Forest is an immersive installation that transforms 69 drawings from the William Farquhar Collection of Natural History Drawings into three-dimensional animations. The artwork touches on various histories, that of the site it is presented in as well as the muses it features. Through a virtual and visual landscape, this installation Singapore’s colonial past with its present-day modernity. Presented in the Glass Rotunda, Story of the Forest is a compelling reminder of our museum’s significance. Framed by the natural foliage of Fort Canning, the Glass Rotunda stands as a modern architectural response to our museum’s 19th-century neo-Palladian Rotunda, which has existed since the institution’s opening in 1887. The second level of the original Rotunda is home to the Goh Seng Choo Gallery, which is dedicated to the William Farquhar Collection of Natural History Drawings – our museum’s most prized collection. The story of the Forest draws its inspiration from this treasured collection. Through stunning artistry and creative technology, it invites you to interact with the animated wildlife of the Malay Peninsula in the 19th century up close. You can also enhance your visit with our Story of the Forest mobile app, which lets you “capture” and learn more about the various flora and fauna in the Glass Rotunda.

Download the free mobile app from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

  • Timings10:00 AM to 07:00 PM
  • Last admission: 6.15 PM
  • Entry Fee: Free admission for Singaporeans, Permanent Residents, and visitors aged 6 years and below |Standard Adult: SGD 15 | Senior (60 years and above) SGD 10. 

9. Surviving Syonan

On 15 February 1942, the British surrendered Singapore to the Imperial Japanese Army, marking the start of the darkest chapter in Singapore’s history. This gallery shines the spotlight on how the people of Singapore coped with daily life and responded with grit and tenacity to the Japanese Occupation. It celebrates their resilience, resourcefulness and self-reliance – values that still underpin the core of Singapore’s society today. Snapshots of these memories are presented in an immersive setting of crumbling walls, evocative of the uncertain and shattered world our war survivors endured. Nevertheless, amid the desperation, hope remained. As you walk through the backroom of the gallery, you will find stories and artefacts that bear testament to courage, hope and love in a period marked by fear, hardship and oppression. 

*Please note that the Surviving Syonan gallery will be closed from Sunday, 2 December after 7pm to Monday, 17 December 2018.

  • Timings10:00 AM to 07:00 PM
  • Last admission: 6.15 PM [CLOSED FROM 2 DEC TO 17 DEC]
  • Entry Fee: Free admission for Singaporeans, Permanent Residents, and visitors aged 6 years and below |Standard Adult: SGD 15 | Senior (60 years and above) SGD 10. 

10.Voices of Singapore

The Singaporean identity is inherently plural. In the 1970s, race, culture, and language were formalized and enshrined into categories that were at once distinct and discrete. By the mid-1980s, these characterizations were debated and articulated in many different ways by Singapore’s artistic practitioners, who created original works that emphasized expressions of national identity and belonging. In the process, they shaped a vibrant society that could accommodate multiple voices and communities – a legacy that continues to inspire us today. Through cultural artifacts that include music, performances, television, and theatre, this gallery explores how Singaporeans forged a unique voice for themselves. The gallery’s back room features a recreation of a vintage drive-in theatre, where you can recline in seats fashioned in the form of mini cars and pick-up trucks, and watch a specially commissioned film installation that celebrates the many forms of leisure that Singaporeans enjoyed in the past.

  • Timings10:00 AM to 07:00 PM
  • Last admission: 6.15 PM 
  • Entry Fee: Free admission for Singaporeans, Permanent Residents, and visitors aged 6 years and below |Standard Adult: SGD 15 | Senior (60 years and above) SGD 10. 

11.Wings of a Rich Manoeuvre

Wings of a Rich Manoeuvre by homegrown artist Suzann Victor presents a chorus of eight kinetic chandeliers that “sing” with movement as they sway in a dramatic mid-air choreography of light. Each chandelier is constructed and shaped from stainless steel and studded with a sparkling array of precision-cut Swarovski crystals accentuated by LED light. Together, the chandeliers create breathtaking aerial calligraphy as they morph from one hypnotic pattern to another, high above the bridge linking the National Museum’s original 19th-century colonial building with its modern futuristic glass wing.

  • Timings10:00 AM to 07:00 PM
  • Last admission: 6.15 PM 
  • Entry Fee: Free admission

12.DigiMuse Presents

The DigiMuse programme is an initiative by the National Museum of Singapore that seeks to build a vibrant cultural sector, as well as engage with the wider technology industry to encourage creative experimentation in cultural spaces. The programme invites artists, technologists and culture professionals to co-create projects, and provide considered interventions that showcase the possibility of integrating culture and technology. Today's continuing advancements in technology have sparked new ways of experiencing the world, bringing about exciting discoveries in diverse fields. Artists and creatives now have access to an increasing array of innovative mediums of expression in the creative landscape, where art and technology have become further intertwined. This edition of DigiMuse Presents explores the coming together of art, culture and technology through the use of new creative tools such as immersive reality, artificial intelligence, 3D printing and many more.

  • Timings10:00 AM to 07:00 PM
  • Last admission: 6.15 PM 
  • Entry Fee: Free admission

13. Unhomed Belongings

Co-presented by the National Museum of Singapore and The Ryan Foundation, Unhomed Belongings presents artworks by two creative minds, Lucy Liu from the United States and Shubigi Rao from Singapore from 12 Jan to 24 Feb 2019. Lucy Liu & Shubigi Rao, who had never met in person before, developed into “visual penfriends” through an exploration of their respective works.The discourse unveiled similar themes in their practices. Incidental or not, Liu and Rao share an interest in examining and dissecting cultures, histories, identities and relationships through their works. Both are also drawn to the repurposing of found objects in their art, in which these objet trouvés become narrators to their creations and conduits to their expressions. The virtual dialogue between the two is presented for the first time at the National Museum of Singapore. In Unhomed Belongings, the artworks by both Liu and Rao are in fluid conversation. Liu’s installation Lost and Found echoes Rao’s Pulp (Volumes 1 and 2), where both invite viewers to examine found objects that may seem ordinary at first glance but possess peculiar character when observed up-close. Through their delicate yet deliberate craftwork, Liu and Rao transform the ordinary into the conceptual, and the salvaged into the sublime.

  • Timings10:00 AM to 07:00 PM
  • Last admission: 6.15 PM 
  • Entry Fee: Free admission

14. In an Instant: Polaroid at the Intersection of Art and Technology

Explore the museum's exhibition, In an Instant: Polaroid at the Intersection of Art and Technology now till 31 March 2019, and discover a nostalgic flashback to the heyday of Polaroid. In an age where apps provide instant services and smartphones allow us to capture just about anything and everything in an instant, the culture of now has never been so prevalent. Its origins can perhaps be traced back to the late 1940s when Edwin Land first introduced the Polaroid camera to the world, marking a technological breakthrough in the history of photography. Instant photography was born, predating the digital age in which we live today. Polaroid’s unique qualities inspired artists and photographers including Andy Warhol, Ansel Adams, Lucas Samaras and Barbara Crane while capturing the imagination of everyone else. In allowing people to capture a shared moment and to memorialize it in an instant, Polaroid was arguably perceived as the social network of its time. Through a wide range of Polaroid artworks and artefacts, this exhibition offers insight into the story of Polaroid photography, while exploring the impact of instant photography and this social phenomenon of instantaneity on us today.

  • Timings10:00 AM to 07:00 PM
  • Last admission: 6.15 PM 
  • Entry Fee: SGD 12.50  for Singaporeans, Permanent Residents |SGD 18 for non-Singaporeans, non-Permanent Residents.

Tips

  • Guided Tours: Free guided tours are available daily. All visitors should obtain an admission sticker (and purchase an admission ticket if necessary) before joining in the tour. Meeting point for all guided tours is at the corner of the Rotunda to the left of the main entrance (facing in). To ensure an optimal experience, maximum capacity for daily guided tours is 20 persons and is on a first-come-first-served basis.
  • Group visits of 8 persons or more will not be allowed to join the daily guided tours. Advance tour booking for such groups is required with 4 weeks notice.

How To Reach

Bus:

You may alight from any of the following buses at YMCA bus stop

7, 14, 14e, 16, 36, 64, 65, 77, 106, 111, 124, 128, 139, 162, 162m, 167, 171, 174, 174e, 175, 190, 700, 700A, 972 and walk 120m or Alight from any of the following buses at Singapore Management University (SMU), Stamford Road bus stop: 

7, 14, 14e, 16, 36, 77, 106, 111, 124, 128, 131, 147, 162, 162m, 166, 167, 171, 174, 174e, 175, 190, 700, 700A, 857 and walk 136m to the National Museum.

MRT

You may alight at Bencoolen Station (DT21) on the Downtown Line and walk 350m via Bencoolen Street

or alight at Bras Basah Station (CC02) on the Circle Line and walk 250m via Bras Basah Road and Bencoolen Street

or alight at Dhoby Ghaut Station (CC01/NE06/NS24) on the Circle/North-East/North-South Line and walk 450m via Orchard Road

or alight at City Hall Station (EW13/ NS25) on the East-West/  North-South Line and walk 600m via Stamford Road to the National Museum.


Operational Hours

January to December
Monday 10:00 AM - 07:00 PM
Tuesday 10:00 AM - 07:00 PM
Wednesday 10:00 AM - 10:00 AM
Thursday 10:00 AM - 07:00 PM
Friday 10:00 AM - 07:00 PM
Saturday 10:00 AM - 07:00 PM
Sunday 10:00 AM - 07:00 PM
Last Admission Gallery10: 5:00 PM |Glass Rotunda (Story of the Forest by teamLab and Singapore, Very Old Tree by Robert Zhao) at 6.:15 PM | All other galleries: 6:30 PM

Things to carry

  • id card
    Id card
  • camera
    camera
  • water bottle
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  • power bank
    Power Bank

Things Not Allowed

  • no alcohol
    alcohol
  • no weapons
    Weapons
  • no pets
    Pets
  • no skate board
    Skate board
  • no smoking
    Smoking
  • no plastic bag
    Plastic Bag

Near By

  • atm
    ATM
    0.5 KM
  • fuel station
    Fuel Station
    1.5 KM
  • restaurant
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    0.1 KM
  • hospital
    Hospital
    2.1 KM
  • pharmacy
    Pharmacy
    2.1 KM
  • hotel
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    0.1 KM
  • shopping mall
    Shopping Mall
    1.2 KM
  • bus stop
    Bus Stop
    1.0 KM

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