Singapore’s Historical Treasure Trove: The National Museum of Singapore Experience

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Discover the National Museum of Singapore: A Journey Through Time and Culture – A Comprehensive Guide

Singapore, a vibrant city-state known for its rich cultural heritage and modern marvels, is home to many iconic landmarks. Among these, the National Museum of Singapore stands out as a beacon of historical and cultural significance. The National Museum of Singapore is more than just a repository of artifacts; it’s a captivating portal into the nation’s fascinating past.

National Museum of Singapore
National Museum of Singapore

The National Museum of Singapore, the nation’s oldest museum, offers a captivating journey through the rich history and vibrant culture of Singapore. Founded in 1887, this architectural gem boasts a distinctive Renaissance style that reflects the colonial influences that shaped Singapore’s early development. Whether you are a history buff, an art lover, or simply curious about Singapore’s unique cultural tapestry and looking for an enriching experience, the National Museum of Singapore is a must-visit destination.

Being on the top visiting list of the Top 10 Museum in Singapore, this cultural gem stands as a testament to the country’s storied past and its progressive vision for the future. This article will guide you through everything you need to know about visiting the National Museum of Singapore, including its location, how to get there, what to see and do, dining options, special events, and ticketing information.

Introduction to the National Museum of Singapore

The National Museum of Singapore is not just a repository of artifacts; it is a dynamic cultural institution that brings history to life through innovative exhibitions and engaging programmes. With a mission to inspire a love for history and an understanding of Singapore’s story, the museum offers a comprehensive look at over 700 years of the nation’s past, from its early days to its rise as a global city.

National Museum of Singapore Location

Conveniently located at 93 Stamford Road, the National Museum of Singapore is nestled in the heart of the city. This prime location makes it easily accessible by various modes of transportation.

How To Go To National Museum of Singapore

Visitors can take the MRT and alight at Bras Basah (Circle Line) or Dhoby Ghaut (North-South, North-East, and Circle Lines) stations, both within a short walking distance. Bus services that stop nearby include routes 7, 14, 16, 36, 77, 111, 124, 131, 147, 162, 167, 171, and 700. For those driving, there are parking facilities available at the nearby Fort Canning Park and YMCA, as well as limited parking at the museum itself.

Mode of Transportation Details
MRT Bras Basah (Circle Line), Dhoby Ghaut (North-South, North-East, and Circle Lines)
Bus Services Routes: 7, 14, 16, 36, 77, 111, 124, 131, 147, 162, 167, 171, 700
Parking Facilities Nearby Fort Canning Park, YMCA, limited parking at the museum

Opening Hours

The museum’s general opening hours are from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm daily. However, there’s a special program called “Quite Mornings” that allows visitors to enjoy a quieter museum experience every first and third Wednesday of the month from 9:00 am to 10:00 am. Do note that opening hours might be subject to change, so it’s always a good idea to check the museum’s website for the latest information before your visit.

Opening Hours Timing
Galleries 10:00 am – 7:00 pm (daily)
Quiet Mornings at the Museum 9:00 am – 10:00 am (every Tuesday)

Ticket Types and Prices

The National Museum of Singapore offers free admission to Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents (PRs) for its permanent galleries. However, special exhibitions may require a separate ticket. Here’s a table outlining the ticketing options:

Ticket Type Price (SGD)
General Admission
Adults 15
Seniors (60 and above) 10
Students and Children (6-18) 10
Children (under 6) Free
Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents
All Permanent Galleries Free
Selected Exhibitions Free
Special Exhibitions
Adults Varies
Seniors (60 and above) Varies
Students and Children (6-18) Varies

Tips to purchase tickets:

  • Purchase your tickets online beforehand to avoid queues, especially during peak periods. You can get your discounted tickets here.
  • Consider getting a museum guide to delve deeper into the exhibits and gain a richer understanding of Singapore’s history and culture.
  • Lockers are available for storing your belongings while you explore the museum.

What to See and Do at National Museum of Singapore

The National Museum of Singapore is more than just a repository of artifacts; it is a vibrant space that brings history to life through innovative exhibitions and interactive experiences. It houses a treasure trove of exhibits that will leave you enthralled. Here are some highlights of what you can expect during your visit:

National Museum of Singapore Map Level 1
National Museum of Singapore Map Level 01
National Museum of Singapore Map Level
National Museum of Singapore Map Level 02

Permanent Galleries

Level 1

Singapore History Gallery

Located at Level 1 of National Museum of Singapore, the Singapore History Gallery is the museum’s centerpiece, providing a comprehensive narrative of Singapore’s evolution from the 14th century to the present day, from its early beginnings as a fishing village to its transformation into a modern metropolis. This immersive exhibit uses multimedia displays, archaeological artifacts, historical documents, films, interactive displays and personal stories to depict key events and milestones. Highlights include sections on the Japanese Occupation, the post-war period, and the road to independence. The gallery’s layout guides visitors through a chronological journey, with each section designed to engage the senses and provoke thought about the complexities of Singapore’s history.

Art of Rehearsal

Located at Gallery 10 of Level 1, the “Art of the Rehearsal” is a captivating three-channel video installation created by the versatile artist Sarah Choo Jing. This piece captures the essence of Singaporean dancers from diverse cultural backgrounds as they rehearse in the hidden alleyways of the city’s cultural districts. Through this artwork, Choo highlights the relentless dedication, rigorous training and intense discipline that dancers invest in their craft, focusing on the process of preparation rather than the final performance. The video showcases performances by Apsaras Arts Ltd, Era Dance Theatre, and the Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan Dance Theatre, bringing to light the unseen efforts and perseverance that underpin their art.

Level 2

Glass Rotunda: Story of the Forest
Glass Rotunda: Story of the Forest

Singapore, Very Old Tree

Following this immersive digital experience, visitors are introduced to “Singapore, Very Old Tree,” a photographic exhibition by Singaporean artist Robert Zhao. This exhibit features 17 compelling images of trees located throughout Singapore, highlighting the deep personal and historical connections that Singaporeans have with these trees.

The exhibition, along with its title, draws inspiration from an antique postcard housed in the National Archives of Singapore. The postcard, labeled “Singapore, Very Old Tree,” features an image of an unidentified tree from 1904. Initially commissioned for the Singapore Memory Project, this exhibition was later featured prominently during Singapore’s SG50 celebrations. As visitors reflect on these narratives, they seamlessly transition into the broader exploration of the Singapore History Gallery which comes next.

Life in Singapore: The Past 100 Years Galleries

Dive into the social transformations that shaped Singapore in the 20th and 21st centuries. This exhibit explores themes of fashion, food, housing, and leisure, providing a glimpse into the everyday lives of Singaporeans.

Spanning the last 100 years, these four galleries provide a fascinating glimpse into everyday life in Singapore over the last century. In the Modern Colony gallery, visitors will explore the history of Singapore during 1920s to1930s, revealing how the people of that era were modern and forward-thinking during the colonial period. The Surviving Syonan gallery offers a poignant look into the resilience and ingenuity of those who navigated the hardships of the Japanese Occupation, finding hope and love amidst adversity. Moving into the Growing Up gallery, the focus shifts to the 1950s and 1960s, showcasing the experiences and aspirations of children growing up as the nation itself was evolving. Finally, in the Voices of Singapore gallery, visitors will witness the burgeoning creativity and self-expression that marked the emergence of a new confident Singaporean identity during the 1970s and 1980s.

Goh Seng Choo Gallery

This gallery features the prized William Farquhar Collection, a treasure trove of natural history drawings that offer insights into the biodiversity of 19th-century Southeast Asia. The exquisite illustrations, commissioned by Singapore’s first Resident and Commandant, are both scientifically significant and artistically beautiful. This exhibition showcases a captivating array of creatures and exotic plants that evoke both allure and fear. The selection includes intricate illustrations from the William Farquhar Collection of Natural History Drawings, which delve into the intriguing and sometimes uneasy interplay between humans and the natural world, highlighting plants and animals known for their ability to provide pleasure or inflict pain.

Wings of a Rich Manoeuvre

Wings of a Rich Manoeuvre by local artist Suzann Victor is an enchanting installation featuring a symphony of eight kinetic chandeliers that “sing” through their graceful, airborne dance. Suspended high above the bridge connecting the National Museum’s historical 19th-century colonial structure with its sleek, modern glass wing, these chandeliers are crafted from stainless steel and adorned with dazzling Swarovski crystals. Illuminated by LED lights, they perform a captivating aerial ballet, transforming from one mesmerizing formation to another. This stunning display creates an impression of glittering wings weaving delicate patterns in the sky, drawing viewers into an extraordinary visual and kinetic experience.

Special Exhibitions

The National Museum of Singapore regularly hosts temporary captivating exhibitions that cover a wide range of topics, from contemporary art to historical retrospectives. These exhibits often feature collaborations with international museums and institutions, bringing world-class collections to Singapore. Visitors should check the museum’s website for current and upcoming exhibitions. These temporary exhibitions provide a dynamic element to the museum, ensuring that each visit offers something new and exciting.

Dining Options

After exploring the museum, visitors can unwind at one of its dining establishments. The National Museum of Singapore offers several dining options, ranging from casual cafes to fine dining restaurants. The museum houses few main eateries:

Flutes Restaurant

Located in the museum’s historic Stamford House wing, Flutes offers a fine dining experience with a menu that emphasizes modern European cuisine. The elegant setting, complete with high ceilings and classic décor, makes it an ideal spot for a leisurely meal or a special occasion. The menu features a selection of expertly crafted dishes that blend contemporary flavors with traditional techniques, ensuring a memorable dining experience.

Food for Thought

For a more casual dining option, Food for Thought provides a relaxed atmosphere with a focus on wholesome and hearty dishes. This family-friendly café is perfect for a quick bite or a casual brunch, offering a variety of salads, sandwiches, and local favorites. The café’s commitment to sustainability and community is reflected in its menu, which prioritizes locally sourced ingredients and environmentally friendly practices.

** Update on 30June2024:

Due to the museum’s restoration work, both Flutes and Food for Thought are closed. Cafe Brera at Reunion will continue to remain open for dining throughout the period, offering light refreshments and full meals at our Reunion Social Space.

Famous and Must-See Exhibits in National Museum of SIngapore

Several exhibits at the National Museum of Singapore stand out as must-see attractions:

The Singapore Stone

A mysterious fragment of a larger sandstone slab, the Singapore Stone is inscribed with an undeciphered script. Discovered in the 19th century at the mouth of the Singapore River, this artifact remains one of the island’s oldest and most intriguing relics. Believed to be dated back to 10th to 13rd century, the stone’s origins and the meaning of its inscriptions continue to be the subject of scholarly debate, adding an element of mystery to this ancient artifact.

Gold Ornaments from the Sacred Hill

These exquisite gold ornaments, dating back to the 14th century, were uncovered at Fort Canning Hill, also known as Bukit Larangan or Forbidden Hill. The collection includes a variety of finely crafted jewelry pieces, showcasing the advanced metalworking skills of Singapore’s early inhabitants. Each piece in the collection tells a story of the region’s rich cultural and artistic heritage, reflecting the sophisticated craftsmanship of the time.

Educational and Special Events

The National Museum of Singapore hosts a variety of special events throughout the year, catering to diverse interests and age groups. Educational programs are available for school groups and educational institutions, offering a range of workshops, lectures, and hands-on activities designed to complement the school curriculum. These programs aim to foster a deeper understanding of Singapore’s history and heritage among students, encouraging critical thinking and engagement. Some of the notable events include:

Pre-school Program

This program is specially created by National Museum of Singapore for young pre-school children to learn about the history and the diversity cultures of Singapore. This include the onsite music and movement workshop, Wigglepods which encourages pre-schoolers to learn more about the museum’s artefacts through familiar themes such as alphabets, numbers, colours, shapes and opposites!

Children’s Season

A dedicated series of activities and workshops designed for younger visitors, Children’s Season offers hands-on learning experiences that make history and culture fun and accessible for kids. The program includes interactive exhibits, storytelling sessions, and craft workshops that engage children in meaningful and enjoyable ways, fostering a love for learning and discovery.

Reunion Senior Programs

There are many different programs specially crafted for seniors to appreciate their selfless contribution to the history and building of Singapore. These programs include monthly workshop for seniors, Quiet Morning drop in activity, Senior Tea Dance as well as Makan (eating) Session for seniors.

Guided Tours

To enhance the visitor experience, the National Museum of Singapore offers guided tours and educational programs. These tours are led by knowledgeable docents who provide in-depth insights into the exhibits and the history they represent. The guided tours will mainly conducted in few languages such as English, Chinese and Japanese. Other languages guided tours are available on Thursday only, such as Korean and French. Book your guided tours at the visitors service desk. You can book a private guide tour as well if you want.

Museum Shop

No visit to the National Museum of Singapore is complete without a stop at the museum shop, MUSEUM MARTKET by ARBY. The shop offers a wide range of souvenirs, books, and unique gifts that reflect the themes and collections of the museum. Visitors can find items such as replicas of historical artifacts, locally crafted jewelry, fabrics, bags and publications on Singapore’s history and culture. The museum shop also features exclusive merchandise related to current exhibitions, providing a tangible connection to the museum’s displays.


The National Museum of Singapore is committed to ensuring that its facilities are accessible to all visitors. The museum provides wheelchair access, with ramps and elevators available throughout the building. Additionally, there are dedicated restrooms for visitors with disabilities and designated parking spaces close to the museum entrance.

For visitors with visual or hearing impairments, the museum offers assistive devices and services to enhance their experience. Audio guides are available, providing detailed descriptions of exhibits, and some galleries feature tactile exhibits that allow visitors to engage with the displays through touch.

Useful Visitor Tips

To make the most of your visit to the National Museum of Singapore, consider the following tips:

  1. Plan Ahead: Check the museum’s website for information on current exhibitions, special events, and ticket prices. This will help you plan your visit and make the most of your time at the museum.
  2. Arrive Early: The museum can get busy, especially on weekends and during special events. Arriving early will give you a head start and allow you to explore the exhibits before the crowds arrive.
  3. Join a Guided Tour: Guided tours are a great way to gain deeper insights into the exhibits. The knowledgeable guides provide valuable context and interesting anecdotes that enhance the museum experience.
  4. Take Your Time: With so much to see and do, it’s important to take your time and fully appreciate each exhibit. Don’t rush through the galleries; instead, spend a few moments at each display to absorb the details and reflect on what you’ve learned.
  5. Enjoy the Surroundings: The museum is located near several other attractions, including Fort Canning Park and the Singapore Art Museum. Consider exploring the surrounding area to round out your cultural experience.

A Must Visit Museum in Singapore

Being one of the Top 10 Museum in Singapore, the National Museum of Singapore is a dynamic and enriching destination that offers a deep dive into the history, culture, and identity of Singapore. Its blend of permanent galleries, temporary exhibitions, and engaging events ensures that there is always something new to discover. Whether you are a first-time visitor or a seasoned museum-goer, the National Museum of Singapore promises a memorable and enlightening experience that celebrates the past while looking forward to the future. Plan your visit today and embark on a journey through the captivating story of Singapore.

FAQ About National Museum of Singapore

Get your National Museum of Singapore questions answered here.

1. What are the opening hours of the National Museum of Singapore?

The National Museum of Singapore is open daily from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm. However, on Tuesdays, the museum offers a special “Quiet Mornings at the Museum” session from 9:00 am to 10:00 am.

2. How can I get to the National Museum of Singapore?

The museum is easily accessible via public transport. You can take the MRT and alight at Bras Basah (Circle Line) or Dhoby Ghaut (North-South, North-East, and Circle Lines) stations. Numerous bus routes also stop nearby, and there are parking facilities at Fort Canning Park, YMCA, and limited spaces at the museum itself.

3. What are the ticket prices for the National Museum of Singapore?

General admission tickets are priced at SGD 15 for adults, SGD 10 for seniors (60 and above), and SGD 10 for students and children aged 6-18. Children under 6 enter for free. Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents enjoy free access to the museum’s permanent galleries and selected exhibitions.

4. Are there any special exhibitions at the National Museum of Singapore?

Yes, the museum frequently hosts special exhibitions, which often have variable ticket prices. These exhibitions showcase a diverse range of themes and artifacts, providing deeper insights into Singapore’s history and culture.

5. What are some must-see exhibits at the National Museum of Singapore?

Key highlights include “Story of the Forest” by TeamLab, a stunning digital installation in the Glass Rotunda, and “Singapore, Very Old Tree” by Robert Zhao, a photography exhibit exploring the city’s connection to its trees. Don’t miss the “Modern Colony,” “Surviving Syonan,” “Growing Up,” and “Voices of Singapore” galleries for a comprehensive journey through Singapore’s past 100 years.

6. Is the National Museum of Singapore family-friendly?

Absolutely! The museum offers various exhibits and programs that cater to families and children. Interactive displays and engaging installations make it an enjoyable experience for all ages.

7. Are there dining options available at the National Museum of Singapore?

Yes, the museum features several dining options where visitors can enjoy a meal or a snack. These eateries offer a range of cuisines, from local delights to international dishes, making it convenient to take a break during your visit.

8. Can I take photos inside the National Museum of Singapore?

Photography is generally allowed in most parts of the museum, but flash photography and the use of tripods or selfie sticks may be restricted in certain areas. Always check for signage and guidelines within the museum to respect exhibit and visitor policies.

9. Does the National Museum of Singapore offer guided tours?

Yes, the museum provides guided tours that can enhance your experience by offering deeper insights into the exhibits and collections. These tours are led by knowledgeable guides and are available in multiple languages. Check the museum’s schedule for tour timings and availability.

10. Are there any accessibility features at the National Museum of Singapore?

The museum is equipped with various accessibility features, including ramps, elevators, and wheelchair-accessible restrooms. It strives to ensure a comfortable visit for all guests, including those with mobility challenges. For specific assistance or details, you can contact the museum directly before your visit.

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