National Museum of Singapore

Weather :

Ideal time : 2 - 3 hours

Entry Fee : Permanent Galleries (Level 1, 2 and Glass Rotunda):
Adult: SGD 15,
Concession: SGD 10

Timings : 10:00 AM - 7:00 PM

National Museum Singapore, Singapore Overview

Dating back to 1849, the National Museum of Singapore is the oldest museum in Singapore. It is one of the four national museums of Singapore. The building preserves its pristine 19th-century colonial architecture, serving as a cultural and architectural landmark of the country. The galleries at this museum highlight the rich history and development of the nation.

The Singapore History Gallery is the chief attraction of this fascinating museum, where a story-telling approach comprising of various perspectives has been adopted to detail Singapore's past, all the way from the 14th century. There are 11 permanent galleries at this informative treasure trove, where one can see not just the history of the country, but the development of its culture, and the history and transformation of its landscape. Its extensive resource centre houses about 15,000 publications relating to the cultural studies, design, and history of Singapore. A ramp spiral within the building leads to the exhibition of the national treasures of Singapore like the Singapore Stone.

Apart from its vast collection of data, the National Museum also hosts workshops, film screenings, story-telling sessions, and activities designed to engage the whole family. A 250-seat auditorium The famous Night Festival of Singapore sees the building beautifully lit up with vivid light installations arranged for this event. One can end their visit to the museum by enjoying a relaxing meal at one of the restaurants present here, or buy souvenirs at the retail store of the museum.

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Singapore History Gallery

Spanning 2,800 square metres of gallery space, the Singapore History Gallery is a glass-clad building situated within the central glass rotunda. It traces the history of Singapore from the 14th century through the use of artworks, interactive exhibits and multimedia like images and films, projected on the 15-metre cylindrical walls of this gallery. One can see the various segments of Singapore’s history expressed here through art. Witness the transformation of the island from being the thriving port of Singapura to the Crown Colony during British colonisation to the fortified Syonan-To of World War Two to modern day Singapore, spanning 700 years of well-documented history.

Artifacts at the National Museum of Singapore

The National Museum of Singapore is currently home to eleven precious artifacts, considered national treasures of Singapore. These include the Singapore Stone, the Gold Ornaments of the Sacred Hill from East Java, the Daguerreotype of Singapore Town, the will of Munshi Abdullah, the mace of the City of Singapore, and a Peranakan coffin cover.

History of the National Museum of Singapore

The National Museum of Singapore was started in 1849 as the Raffles Library and Museum, named after Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of modern Singapore. After multiple relocations, the museum was finally established at its current location on Stamford Road in 1887. At its inception, the museum displayed objects of historical and archaeological value to Singapore, with few artifacts from other regions of Asia. Over time, the museum became well known for its collection of zoological and ethnographic exhibits.

During the Japanese Occupation of Singapore, this historic museum was left untouched due to its reputation of being a research, knowledge and culture centre of the island. After Singapore’s independence in 1965, it was renamed the National Museum of Singapore. Following this, the various collections of this comprehensive museum were distributed to multiple important facilities like the National University of Singapore and museums in India and Malaysia. The exhibits displayed were oriented towards showcasing the rich history, ethnology and culture of Singapore.

The National Museum was declared as a national monument in 1992 and renamed as the Singapore History Museum in 1993, which remained its name until 2003. It underwent a three-and-a-half years restoration, finally reopening in 2006 as the National Museum of Singapore.

Architecture of the National Museum of Singapore

The National Museum of Singapore is housed in a magnificent building with heavy influences of neo-Palladian architectural style, with a symmetrical outer structure, use of Doric and Ionic columns, and large, triangular pediments above the windows. These impressive pediments bear the coat of arms of Queen Victoria, a tribute to the golden jubilee of the monarch’s reign. One of the chief architectural delights of this building is the glass rotunda inside, a 16-metre high structure made of restored Victorian glassworks, topped off with an iconic dome, an architectural landmark. The dome is covered in coloured panels and arched windows which allow the complex to be beautifully lit up. The 11 metre high Glass passage connects this colonial building with the new extension of the museum.

Tours at the National Museum of Singapore

Singapore History Gallery:
Monday - Friday: 11:00 AM, 2:00 PM,
Saturday, Sunday: 1:00 PM, 2:00 PM, 4:00 PM,
Monday, Friday: 2:30 PM,
Saturday, Sunday: 11:30 AM, 1:30 PM, 2:30 PM,
Monday - Friday: 10:30 AM,
Every 1st Saturday of the month: 1:30 PM,
French: Every 1st Thursday of the month: 12:00 PM,
Korean: Every 2nd Thursday of the month: 11:30 AM,

The Farquhar Collection (Goh Seng Choo Gallery & Story of the Forest at the Glass Rotunda):
English: First Wednesday of the month: 1:00 PM,

Life in Singapore Galleries:
Goh Seng Choo Gallery:
2nd, 3rd, 4th Wednesday of the month: 1:00 PM,
Modern Colony Gallery:
2nd, 3rd, 4th Wednesday of the month: 1:00 PM,
Surviving Syonan Gallery:
3rd Wednesday of the month: 1:00 PM,
Growing up Gallery:
4th Wednesday of the month: 1:00 PM,
Voices of Singapore Gallery:
4th Wednesday of the month: 1:00 PM

Tips For Visiting National Museum

The guided tours at the museum are free of cost.

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