National Museum of Singapore – Oldest Museum in Singapore

Most foreigners and tourists only know Singapore as “garden city”, “lion city” or “food haven”. Many people only know about Marina Bay Sands, Sentosa and Orchard Road, but Singapore has much more to offer than just sightseeing.

Singapore is one of the few countries in the world that is truly multi-cultural. Singapore is mainly made up of four races – Chinese, Indians, Malays and Eurasians.

In this and subsequent posts, let me show you places where you can learn more about the colorful multi-racial culture of Singapore.

I have shown you Indian Heritage Centre in the last post. Today, I am going to show you the National Museum of Singapore. I am ashamed to confess that I have never once visited the National Museum of Singapore in all the 20+ years I have lived in Singapore.

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The building that houses the National Museum of Singapore was built in Neo-Palladian and Renaissance style, a stately-looking building complete with a majestic-looking dome. The galleries are housed in two rectangular parallel blocks.

The National Museum of Singapore is the oldest museum in Singapore. It was established in 1849 and it used to be known as Raffles Library and Museum. It moved to its current location at Stamford Road in 1887 and it was renamed National Museum of Singapore in 1965. Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum houses the Raffles Natural History Collection.

History of the National Museum mural located on level 1 of the Grand Staircase was inspired by 19th-century landscape paintings. The Museum’s rich history and collection is skillfully weaved into the mural. 

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Singapore History Gallery on level 1 is probably the first place you will want to visit. This gallery showcases Singapore’s history when it was known as Singapura, a Crown Colony, Syonan-To and finally Singapore. This gallery is structured in a spiral, guiding you from  the start of Singapura to the modern Singapore. There are videos and audios that help to paint a more complete picture of Singapore’s history.

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Surviving Syonan gallery on level 2 shows how Singaporeans coped with daily life during the Syonan years (otherwise known as the Japanese Occupation) with grit and resourcefulness.

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On a lighter note, Modern Colony gallery showcase the cosmopolitan nature of Singapore as a British Crown colony in the 1920s and 1930s.

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Walking around the Growing Up gallery on level 2 felt like taking a trip down memory lane. It felt so surreal seeing some of the things I used to play with on display in a museum.

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The Voices of Singapore gallery on level 2 showed how Singaporeans expresses themselves through music, performances, television and theatre in the 1970s and 1980s.

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Goh Seng Choo gallery on level 2 has been become Magic & Menace gallery. This gallery explores magic and supernatural superstitions practiced by traditional Southeast Asian societies.

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Colony 10, Story of the Forest, Wings of a Rich Manoeuvre and Singapore, Very Old Tree scattered on level 1 and 2 are art installations that merges art and science together.

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There is something for everyone at the National Museum of Singapore. Besides the permanent galleries listed above, there are also various non-permanent exhibitions held every month. Check out Life Underground, Old New World, Reunion and Moving Memories.

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National Museum of Singapore 

Address: 93 Stamford Road, Singapore 178897

Opening Hours: Daily 10am – 7pm



Free admission to all galleries for Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents (please present pink or blue NRIC for verification) and children below 6 years old.

Foreigners and tourists have to pay S$15 for only permanent galleries, S$18 for permanent galleries + special exhibition and S$26 for all galleries. 

Concession admission is available for seniors (60 years and above), students and those with Special Access passes. Please show valid proof of identity to enjoy concession admission of S$10 for only permanent galleries, S$14 for permanent galleries + special exhibition and S$19 for all galleries. 

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