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Asian Civilisations Museum

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Weather:

Ideal Time: 2 - 3 hours

Timings:

Saturday - Thursday: 10:00 AM - 7:00 PM,
Friday: 10:00 AM - 9:00 PM,
Last entry 15 minutes before closing

Entry Fee:

Permanent Galleries: SGD 15 - SGD 60,
Exhibition & Permanent Galleries: SGD 12 - SGD 60
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Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore Overview

Ranked as one of the top museums in Asia, the Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore is an engrossing experience, taking one through the fascinating journey of the cultures and civilisations of Asia. It is part of the four significant museums in Singapore, each of which holds great national and global importance. Within this museum, one can find relics from all over the world, specifically those from the civilisations of China, Southeast Asia, South Asia and West Asia, as these ethnic groups have transformed this exciting nation into the cultural melting pot of Asia.

This historical museum is rightly located in the Empress Place Building by the landmark Singapore River, an area that has been widely considered as the origin of the incredibly diverse, multicultural society of Singapore. Covering a massive area of 14,000 square metres, there are over 2000 artefacts spread across seven galleries on three levels within this building, tracing more than 5000 years of history of the various Asian civilisations that currently inhabit Singapore. On the ground floor, one can find the Trade and the Exchange of Ideas gallery, where the exhibits tell the history of Singapore's development into a hub of global trade. Within the galleries here, one can find objects pertaining to themes such as pre-history, tribal history, vernacular Buddhism, the Malay World, Javanese history, Ancient Religions, Islamic culture, and Chinese Culture. Apart from indulging in the history of the different Asian cultures, one can also enjoy a refreshing coffee at the Prive ACM, dine at the Empress, a traditional Chinese restaurant found in the premises, or commemorate this enchanting trip with a unique souvenir from the museum gift shop.

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The comprehensive collection of over 2,000 exhibits present at this impressive museum have been divided into the following galleries, with each gallery equipped with a set of guideposts in the form of videos and interactive zones:

Singapore River Gallery: A unique feature of this museum, this gallery is devoted to relics retrieved from the mouth and bed of the iconic Singapore River.

Level 1: Trade
Tang Shipwreck (Khoo Teck Puat Gallery): One of the most prominent exhibits of the museum, the Tang Shipwreck is a 9th-century Arab ship that was found in the Java Sea in the 20th century. The discovery of the contents of the ship, comprising of over 1000 pieces of ceramic, gold and silver, has helped historians understand more about the Indian Ocean trade that existed at the time. Many of the ceramics retrieved have been attributed to the Tang Dynasty of China.

Maritime Trade and Court & Company: This gallery explores the rich culture of trading that has taken place throughout Asia for almost two thousand years. Exhibits from this section were made for the European markets, the royal courts of China, India, and Southeast Asia.

Level 2: Faith and Belief
ILM - Science and Imagination in the Islamic World: The word ‘ilm’ means knowledge in Arabic. This section explores the various roles of knowledge in everyday life, cultural production, and religious objects concerned with the Islamic world.

Ancient Religions: The millennia-old religions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and subsequent religions that cropped up across the continent of Asia can be traced back to their origins from the evidence found in this section. The use of artwork, sculptures, and abstract imagery helps symbolise the deities of the ancients.

Scholars Gallery: This gallery is meant to signify the importance of the consumption and application of knowledge by individuals in everyday life to the Chinese culture, be it in the fields of the classics, academics, writing, painting, civil service, or trade, showing the continued role of being an ideal that the scholar has played in the Chinese culture.

Level 3: Materials and Design
This section explores the evolution of garments, accessories and textiles of the various Asian civilisations as they have moved through the ages. One can find similarities between these artefacts, simplifying the homogeneity and global nature reflected in these ancient cultures.

Ceramics Gallery:
The highly coveted range of Chinese ceramics, from the delicate Dehua collections to the emperor’s dining table can be found in this section. These items tell the stories of their creation, use, and value as the Chinese civilisation progressed over the years.

This collection of this magnificent museum has been divided into the following categories: Prints, Gold, Documents & Paper, Fibre Work, Photographs & Negatives, Woodcarving, Silver, Theatre Artefacts, Keris & Weaponry, Lacquerware, Aboriginal Artefacts, Brass, Musical Instruments, Furniture, Paintings, Rare Books, Bone & Ivory, Garments & Accessories, Ceramics, Textiles, Sculptures, Implements & Tools, Folklife Collection, Bronze. Among the highlights of this extensive collection is the famous Tang Shipwreck showcasing treasures from 9th century China, the impressive collection of Dehua porcelain figures, the rare sandstone Mathura Buddha, Peranakan gold, Khmer sculptures, Sinicised temple art of Vietnam, the Buddhist Stupas, and the head of the Gandharan Bodhisattva.

Permanent Galleries:
Singaporeans and PRs: No Entry Fee,
Foreigners:
Adults: SGD 20,
Family of 5: SGD 60,
Students & Seniors: SGD 15,

Exhibition: (Admission pricing includes entry into both Angkor: Exploring Cambodia's Sacred City? and Permanent Galleries)
Singaporeans and PRs:
Adults: SGD 12,
Seniors, Students & children below 6: No Entry Fee,

Foreigners:
Adults: SGD 20,
Family of 5: SGD 60,
Students & Seniors: SGD 15

Additionally, the museum also holds instructive programmes for the family and lectures. Prices for these events vary as per the event.

There are free guided tours organised at the museum. The schedule is as follows:

Museum Highlights:
Monday - Friday: 11:00 AM, 2:00 PM,
Saturday, Sunday: 11:00 AM, 2:00 PM, 3:00 PM, 4:30 PM,

Islamic Art: Monday: 12:30 PM,
Tang Shipwreck: Tuesday, Saturday, Sunday: 12:30 PM,
Trade: Wednesday: 12:30 PM,
Scholar’s Studio: Thursday: 12:30 PM,
Ceramics: Friday: 12:30 PM,
Trade & Ceramics: Saturday, Sunday: 12:30 PM,
Monday Special GIF Tour: Monday: 1:00 PM,

Ancient Religions:

Monday - Thursday: 3:30 PM,
Friday: 3:30 PM, 7:00 PM

The museum was first set up at the Old Tao Nan School building in 1997. During its inception, the collection displayed was largely focused on Chinese civilisation and culture. After the restoration of the historic Empress Palace Building, the museum was shifted here in 2003, with its old venue being converted into the Peranakan Museum. The revamped museum launched itself with the new slogan “The Asian Civilisations Museum — Where Asian Cultures Come Alive!” as a reference to the new location of the museum by the iconic Singapore River, the birthplace of the diverse society of Singapore we see today. This slogan was later changed to “Singapore’s Museum of Asia”. The museum, being a symbol of national pride, continues to undergo enhancements and modifications in terms of its collections and the space it occupies.

  • There are free guided tours organised by volunteers (not available on Public Holidays).
  • Photography without flash and videography permitted
  • Touching of the artefacts, paintings and other exhibits is forbidden in order to maintain the integrity of these items.
  • Those with worksheets are only permitted to use pencils.
  • Lectures held at the museum are free of cost. However, there is limited seating, and admission is either based on first-come-first-serve basis or for pre-registered attendees.
  • Admission to the museum is free from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM on Fridays


The Asian Civilisations Museum is located in the Empress Place building by the Anderson Bridge, off Fullerton Road. One can choose to arrive here by train as the H exit of the Raffles Place MRT station is a 5-minute walk from the entrance to the museum. Alternatively, a bus can also be taken, as the Fullerton Square bus stop is a 2-minute walk from the museum.

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