Where to see (and feed your curious mind with) rare masterpieces, historical artefacts, revolutionary sculptures, thought-provoking paintings and cultural relics.
As a booming cultural hub, Singapore has attracted loads of art and big-name museum exhibitions in recent years, from permanent exhibits with historic Southeast Asian pieces and ground-breaking art exhibitions by famous painters. The best part? Most of these museums offer free admission to locals and permanent residents. But don’t just pop by the museums -–the city’s also dotted with independent art galleries with works by both established and up-and-coming artists.
National Gallery Singapore
Something major happened in the art world when the National Gallery Singapore (NGS) opened. It houses the largest public collection of Singapore and Southeast Asian art in the world, opened after ten years in the making. And it certainly isn’t a modest place; the building alone is breathtaking, the facilities are state-of-the-art, there are some amazing restaurants, and, perhaps most importantly, the stories from within are a reflection Singapore’s history, values and vision. Head to the rooftop garden or rooftop bar (we recently had a chat with the new head bartender) for some a-maze-ing fun!
National Gallery Singapore, 1 St. Andrew’s Road, Singapore 178957, p. 6514 0111
National Museum of Singapore
If you want to know more about this little red dot, the National Museum of Singapore is the place to go. Established in 1887, the oldest museum in Singapore delivers Singapore’s history and culture through live performances and modern multi-media exhibits. Permanent galleries to visit here include the Singapore History Gallery, which charts the development of the city, as well as its newest addition: Packaging Matters: Singapore’s Food Packaging Story from the Early 20th Century on until September 2019.
National Museum of Singapore, 93 Stamford Road, Singapore 178897, p. 6332 3659
Combining art, science, design, media, architecture and technology, Art Science Museum has housed notable exhibits and works from iconic artists including Andy Warhol, Salvatore Dali and Leonardo da Vinci. A permanent, must-visit exhibit is Future World, which features interactive digital installations and is refreshed every few months.
ArtScience Museum, 6 Bayfront Ave, Singapore 018974, p. 6688 8888
Mint Museum of Toys
Mint – also known as Moment of Imagination and Nostalgia with Toys – is the world’s first museum purpose-built museum for toys and is valued to be over $5 million. That’s a lot of toys! Relive your childhood memories as you browse through the 50,000 vintage playthings collected from different eras including pre-WWII.
Mint Museum of Toys, 26 Seah Street, Singapore 188382, p. 6339 0660
Asian Civilisations Museum
You’ll want to put aside a whole afternoon for this sprawling museum. The Asian Civilisations Museum presents over five thousand years of recorded history through a diverse collection of Asian artefacts, including detailed sculptures of Buddha and the Gandhara culture. The museum is located along the Singapore River, so you can grab a beer at Timbre after you’re done.
Asian Civilisations Museum, 1 Empress Place Singapore 179555, p. 6332 7798
There’s more to this design museum than its cool architecture and mind-blowing exhibitions. Here’s why you should add the Red Dot Design Museum Singapore to your list of things to do in Singapore… https://goo.gl/yHfHHa
Posted by Honeycombers on Monday, December 18, 2017
Red Dot Design Museum
This design museum has recently relocated to its new digs in the Marina Bay area, and it looks like something out of a sci-fi film. Despite its slightly smaller venue, the museum is THE home for innovation in Singapore, and showcases award-winning ideas and mind-blowing prototypes across product design, communication design and clever concepts. Check out our video above for all sneak peek!
Red Dot Design Museum, 11 Marina Boulevard, Singapore 018940
Singapore Musical Box Museum
If inventions pique your interest, a trip to the Singapore Musical Box Museum will transport you to a time when these contraptions reigned. Displayed in UNESCO heritage building (that used to be a school) next to the iconic Thian Hock Keng temple on Telok Ayer Street, are over 40 antique musical boxes from the 1800s and 1900s. Set up by Naoto Orui, a Japanese collection, you’ll also learn about the rise and fall of this invention and even get a chance to see a rare Edison Opera phonograph with a wooden horn handmade by Thomas Edison himself. For real!
Singapore Musical Box Museum, 168 Telok Ayer St, Singapore 068619
Indian Heritage Centre
A cultural centre and museum, this fairly new structure in Little India celebrates the culture and heritage of Indian Singaporeans. Sign up for a heritage trail of the bustling Little India precinct, explore the permanent exhibit that traces the history of the Indian community through artefacts and displays and play traditional Indian games while you’re there.
Indian Heritage Centre, 5 Campbell Ln, Singapore 209924
Malay Heritage Centre
Want to learn more about Singapore’s Malay culture and heritage? Stopover at the Malay Heritage Centre located at Istana Kampong Glam, an iconic structure that was once the royal seat of the Malay sultans of Singapore. The well-preserved centre is home to historical artefacts, interactive multimedia and exhibits that illustrates the rich history of the community.
Malay Heritage Centre, 85 Sultan Gate, Singapore 198501
Chinese Heritage Centre
As the name suggests, the Chinese Heritage Centre at Nanyang Technological University focuses on overseas Chinese communities and explores the question of ethnic identity within its 6,000 sq ft permanent exhibit.
Chinese Heritage Centre, Nanyang Technological University, 46 Nanyang Ave, Singapore 639817
Vintage Cameras Museum Singapore
If you still find a special sort of charm in vintage photography equipment, you’ll want to pay a visit to the new Vintage Camera Museum at Jalan Kledek. Founded by businessman Solaiyappan Ramanathan and his artist cousin AP Shreethar, it boasts an incredible collection of over a thousand vintage cameras. The building itself is set in the form of a massive camera, and holds the distinction of being the world’s biggest camera-shaped building.
Vintage Cameras Museum Singapore, 8C-8D Jalan Kledek, Singapore 199263, p. 8591 8918
Parkview Museum Singapore
Singapore’s very own ‘Gotham City’ building – or as it’s officially called, Parkview Square – has just opened a contemporary art museum within its ritzy Art Deco premises. Known simply as Parkview Museum Singapore, the private gallery hosts exhibitions focusing on contemporary art where they will alternate between solo shoes, themed showcases and displays from the museum’s extensive collection.
Parkview Museum Singapore, Level 3 Parkview Museum Singapore, 600 North Bridge Road, Singapore 188778
The Maritime Experiential Museum
Ahoy there, matey! Having undergone a massive makeover, The Maritime Experiential Museum features new interactive exhibits that are more than just admiring replicas of ships. Feed your knowledge on the Chinese, Borobudur and Javanese trading ships of the era, become a sailor in training, escape from the pirates, and experience a typhoon! Plus, there are plenty of photo ops in the museum to fill your cameras with.
The Maritime Experiential Museum, 8 Sentosa Gateway, Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore 098269
Lee Kong Chian National History Museum
Do dinosaur fossils, displays of extinct animals and skeletons of giant mammals pique your interest? Then you’re in for a treat at the Lee Kong Chian National History Museum. Wildlife lovers will get to enjoy sixteen zones showcasing a plethora of specimens from plants and fungi to dinosaurs and sea creatures. Visit the four gardens surrounding the museum, charting the evolution of plants and their habitats.
Lee Kong Chian National History Museum, National University of Singapore, 2 Singapore Drive, Singapore 117377
Pssst: The Singapore Art Museum, the Singapore Philatelic Museum, the Changi Museum and Peranakan Museum are currently closed for renovations. Stay tuned for updates
Located in a quaint three-storey Peranakan shophouse located along Armenian Street, the sister museum to the Asian Civilisations Museum, also first of its kind in the world, showcases collections of Peranakan items including jewellery, furniture and art. Go on and get a glimpse into the grand lifestyle of this prominent community.
Peranakan Museum, 39 Armenian Street, Singapore 179941, p. 6332 7591
Singapore Philatelic Museum
Museum This one’s for stamp enthusiasts – the Singapore Philatelic Museum celebrates the hobby and features private collections of philatelists as well as international and themed exhibitions. Head here to see interesting stamps from Singapore’s past and present.
Singapore Philatelic Museum, 23-B Coleman Street, Singapore 179807, p. 6337 3888
Remnants of the war are littered throughout the city, but a good place to start your journey into the past is at Changi Museum. It serves as a memorial to the soldiers and victims of the Japanese Occupation through the documentation of the emotional events that happened during the tumultuous period.
Changi Museum, 1000 Upper Changi Road North, Singapore 507707
Singapore Art Museum
Once a Catholic boys’ school St. Joseph Institute for 135 years, the beautiful historic building now holds a fine selection of contemporary artworks across Southeast Asia. Put aside your entire day when you visit this place: the art museum has over 7,000 permanent art pieces.
Singapore Art Museum, 71 Bras Basah Road, Singapore 189555, p. 6589 9580, open 10am-7pm daily.
This colonial barracks-turned-cool art enclave is the go-to spot for those seeking a dose of contemporary art with its 10 distinctive art galleries. Folks with a penchant for Japanese art must make it a point to visit Mizuma Gallery and Ota Fine Arts – known for curating snazzy exhibitions by renowned Japanese artists. To support local pride, check Fost Gallery that pays special focus to emerging local artists, and Yeo Workshop, a contemporary art gallery that not only curates intriguing exhibitions by both local and international artists but also hosts interesting programmes that give art lovers a chance to engage with talented artists in Singapore.
Gillman Barracks, 9 Lock Rd, Singapore 108937
Goodman Arts Centre
Tucked away within the heritage-rich Mountbatten precinct, Goodman Arts Centre is seven acres of art goodness – housing the National Arts Council of Singapore, two F&B outlets, 37 arts and creatives group and over 40 shared facilities for rental for the arts aficionados. Must-see galleries include Institute of Critical Zoologists (helmed by Robert Zhao – a nominee for ‘Best Emerging Artist Using Photography’ at the prestigious Prudential Eye Awards 2016) where you get to learn more about the intricate relations between animals and urban societies; OH! Open house, the brainchild behind Singapore’s only art walkabout that transforms private spaces in neighbourhoods into an art haven; and Donna Ong where you get to appreciate sculpture installations, films and drawings that internalise childhood dreams and hopes.
Goodman Arts Centre, 90 Goodman Rd, Singapore 439053, p. 6342 5790
Kult Gallery is a lowbrow urban style gallery located at Emily Hill, showcasing works from both local and international artists. This gallery aims to promote young street artists and illustrators, shining a spotlight on future talents you must get acquainted with. Here, you can definitely find signed editions, original works and other obscure pieces which defy the conventional and challenge the norm. It is a constantly evolving space giving you a different experience every time you visit.
Kult Gallery, Blk C2-5, Emily Hill, 11 Upper Wilkie Rd, Singapore 228120, p. 6338 1066
Established with the aim to support and nurture the community of photography enthusiasts in Singapore and beyond, DECK is a fun independent communal art space that can expose you to the growing photography scene and teach you more about photography art. At DECK, there is a gallery, library, activity studio, artist’s studio and café within the 19 magnificent shipping containers (yes, shipping containers; how’s that for peculiar?).
DECK, 120A Prinsep Street, Singapore 187937, p. 67346578
Tanjong Pagar Distripark
Art galleries at a warehouse? It cannot get any cooler than this. At Tanjong Pagar Distripark, you are able to spot several art galleries hidden within the vicinity of the warehouse. Here, you can find the fairly renowned Ikkan Art International that houses Singapore-based visual artist, Sherman Ong’s masterpieces. Then head over to Gajah Gallery that presents galleries of work from artists around the region.
Tanjong Pagar Distripark, 39 Keppel Road Singapore 089065, p. 6377 6182