10 museums to visit in Singapore

From cool hi-tech galleries at the Art Science Museum to exploring Peranakan heritage at The Intan, these galleries showcase lots of knowledge and Asia’s rich cultures.

ArtScience Museum

Designed as a symbolic gesture of welcome to guests from across the globe, the lotus-inspired ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands embraces a spectrum of influences from art & science, media & technology and design & architecture. Featuring over 4,600 square meters of space, the highlight of the museum is their roving galleries, in which exhibitions have been held on a wide range of subjects, including Harry Potter, dinosaurs and the Titanic.

Asian Civilisations Museum

Located in a 135-year-old building, which used to be the Government Office in colonial times, The Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) is the first museum in the region to present a broad perspective of pan-Asian cultures and civilizations.The Museum’s collection focuses on the material cultures of the different groups originating from China, Southeast Asia, South Asia and West Asia. Highlights include the Singapore River Gallery, which tells the story of immigrants who worked along the Singapore River.

, 10 museums to visit in Singapore
Museum of Independent Music

Museum of Independent Music

The Museum of Independent Music (MOIM) is dedicated to documenting the history of Singapore’s indie music scene. Founded by Anvea Chieu and Tarmizee Taksen (both owners of recording and performing studio Lithe Paralogue), this space houses memorabilia, art, artifacts, documentaries, short films and an audio archive. Visitors can listen to local songs of all genres from past to present; learn about the rich history and culture of the local indie scene; and attend performances, talks and workshops. 

The Changi Museum

This museum is dedicated to the prisoners of war (POWs) held captive at Changi Prison during the Japanese Occupation of Singapore from 1942-1945. A nostalgic collection of artwork, photographs, and personal artifacts donated by former POWs is housed here. The chapel located in the museum’s courtyard is a replica of the makeshift chapels used by the POWs. The highlight of the chapel is the Changi Murals, which were recreated from the originals painted by war veteran Bombardier Stanley Warren. Admission free.

, 10 museums to visit in Singapore
The Intan

The Intan

Located in the heart of historical enclave Joo Chiat, this is a Peranakan heritage museum that’s actually also a home, making it one of the first of its kind in Singapore. Owner and antique collector Alvin Yapp conducts personalized and private tours that shed light about the unique Peranakan culture through artifacts, personal stories and traditional delicacies. Do make an appointment before popping by though. 

Mint Museum of Toys

Mint Museum of Toys is the world’s first purpose built museum for toys. Belonging to Singapore citizen Chang Yang, it’s home to more than 50,000 toys, from Astroboy figurines to vintage collectibles. Don’t miss out on the lovable rare and one-of-a-kind treasures that may date back to the 12th century.

, 10 museums to visit in Singapore
Singapore Art Museum

Singapore Art Museum

Housed in a 19th century mission school, the carefully restored Singapore Art Museum is devoted to the collection, research and display of 20th century Singapore and Southeast Asian visual art. The Singapore Art Museum holds a permanent collection of approximately 7,000 South and East Asian contemporary and modern art—the largest collection held by a public institution in the world. 

The Peranakan Museum

Housed in the former Tao Nan Chinese School, this intimate museum explores the culture of Peranakan communities in Southeast Asia. With one of the most comprehensive collections of Peranakan objects, the furniture, jewelry and artifacts exhibited across three floors illustrate the cultural traditions and distinctive visual arts of the Peranakans. 

, 10 museums to visit in Singapore
Chinatown Heritage Center, credit: Bryn Pinzgaue

Chinatown Heritage Center

The Chinatown Heritage Centre occupies three shophouses on Pagoda Street, and has been partly recreated to suggest the original interior of its tenants in the 1950s. Discover stories of early Chinese migrants, the clan associations they formed once here, plus the seedy underground of gambling houses, opium dens and other vices. 

National Museum of Singapore

Of course, how can we forget the grand dame of museums? The nation’s oldest museum is the custodian of 11 national treasures, including the Singapore Stone which dates back to the 13th century, and gold ornaments unearthed from neighboring Fort Canning Hill in 1928. Its Singapore History Gallery investigates 700 years of Singapore’s past and they also do outdoor movie screenings at thier open air cinema.