From faceless portraits to vintage collectibles, these permanent exhibitions around Singapore are intriguing.
Whenever a new exhibition opens, we rush to pay it a visit before it’s gone. In the process, we tend to overlook the less fleeting galleries. It’s time to show these permanent art exhibitions in Singapore some love. We spotlight our favourites that you need to check out. Be sure to add them to your art exhibition bucket list!
Best permanent art exhibitions in Singapore
1. The Collection at Peranakan Museum
Are you curious about Peranakan communities in Southeast Asia? Then pop over to the Peranakan Museum, which has over 800 objects across three floors. You’ll learn about their life through themes related to origins, home, and style. Marvel at the jewellery and batik clothes on display, as well as the opulent furniture typically found in a Peranakan home.
The Collection at Peranakan Museum, 39 Armenian Street, Singapore 179941
2. Future World: Where Art Meets Science at ArtScience Museum
This futuristic exhibition continues to draw throngs of people seeking that perfect Instagram shot, particularly in the dazzling Space gallery. Our favourite part has to be the gorgeous waterfall aka Crystal Universe. It’s created from light that acts just like water. Say what?! Give it a flick with your hand and you’ll see what we mean. We’re not sure how it works, but it’s totally magical! And in the Sanctuary, blooming and scattering cherry blossoms invite you to ponder your own mortality. Memento mori, as they say.
Future World: Where Art Meets Science, ArtScience Museum, 6 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018974
3. The exhibitions at Changi Chapel and Museum
What was it like during the Japanese Occupation? The Changi Chapel and Museum both hold the answer. The museum spotlights personal stories of prisoners of war with 114 artefacts across eight permanent galleries. Revisit experiences through a never-before-seen 400-page diary that belonged to a Changi prison internee. Oh, and check out the re-created Changi Gaol cell to get a feel of how internees lived their days. It also features historical recordings of conversations, giving you a glimpse into their daily experiences.
The exhibitions at Changi Chapel and Museum, 1000 Upper Changi Road North, Singapore 507707
4. The collection at Mint Museum of Toys
Yes, we’re classifying toys as art. If you fancy taking a trip down memory lane, Mint Museum of Toys is the place for you. You’ll find everything from way back when, including iconic Campbell Soup enamel signs, vintage collectable cars, Betty Boop dolls, Steiff teddy bears, 60s Beatles memorabilia and much more. All in mint condition, of course!
The Collection at the Mint Museum of Toys, 26 Seah Street, Singapore 188382
5. Biodiversity Gallery at Lee Kong Chian National History Museum
Do dinosaur fossils, displays of extinct animals and skeletons of giant mammals pique your interest? If so, you’re in for a treat at the Lee Kong Chian National History Museum. Wildlife lovers will enjoy over 15 zones showcasing a plethora of specimens. That includes the show-stopping collection of three diplodocid sauropod fossils. That’s not all. Get up close and personal with a skeleton of a sperm whale, which was found in Singapore!
Biodiversity Gallery at Lee Kong Chian National History Museum, National University of Singapore, 2 Singapore Drive, Singapore 117377
6. Permanent Collection at the Red Dot Design Museum
Design aficionados, are we? Well, it’s imperative you catch the collection displayed at Red Dot Design Museum along the Waterfront Promenade. The best of the best are displayed elegantly. Every product has been awarded the coveted internationally acclaimed Red Dot Award for Product Design. It’s the only place that shines a deserving light on the best of contemporary product design.
Red Dot Design Museum, 11 Marina Boulevard, Singapore 018940
7. A Voyage of Love and Longing at National Museum of Singapore
Poetry meets natural art at this permanent exhibition. Go back to the 19th century as the exhibition draws inspiration from the practice of ‘belayar’ (voyage in Malay) in the Malay Archipelago back in the day. Admire the gorgeous drawings from the William Farquhar Collection of Natural History. Take a look closer and you’ll see the works are paired with Malay poetry. The texts help to convey the complex emotions seafarers felt at different points of a sea voyage. Like what you see? You can create a digital postcard by scanning the QR code.
A Voyage of Love and Longing, National Museum of Singapore, 93 Stamford Road, Singapore 178897
8. The collection at Asian Civilisations Museum
This one’s massive. You’ll spend a whole afternoon strolling around ACM’s three thematic levels. The permanent collection includes artefacts that span over five thousand years of recorded Asian history. Drop by the Trade-themed level one to witness a ninth century shipwreck with a display of over 1,000 pieces of ceramics, gold and silver. Next, browse through sculptures and ritualistic objects at level two’s Faith & Belief space, and appreciate textile traditions and ceramics from across the land on level three.
Asian Civilisations Museum, 1 Empress Place, Singapore 179555
9. Story of the Forest at National Museum of Singapore
TeamLab offers a stunning piece of art that’s permanently housed in the National Museum. 19th-century drawings of the Malay Peninsula’s biodiversity – commissioned by William Farquhar – are brought to life in the glass rotunda. Be engulfed by a kaleidoscope of colours as flowers bloom overhead and a gorgeous purple rainforest towers over you. Get your cameras ready as you inch closer to the screen. More flora and fauna or even a cute deer might pop up!
Story of the Forest, National Museum of Singapore, 93 Stamford Road, Singapore 178897
10. Voices of Singapore at National Museum of Singapore
We appreciate how this gallery is styled after a drive-through cinema. With vintage artefacts and a showreel that takes you back to the 70s and 80s, this exhibition explores the forms of artistic expression and leisure that shaped the community. Peek inside the lives of locals from the bygone era through popular music, theatre and performances of the time. This offers a different perspective to textbook tales of how war and hardship forged a national identity. Because hey, people bond over fun too.
Voices of Singapore, National Museum of Singapore, 93 Stamford Road, Singapore 178897
Need your dose of art? These permanent art exhibitions in Singapore are always here for you.