Singapore Musical Box Museum

Weather :

Ideal time : Less than 1 hour

Entry Fee : Adults: SGD 12
Students or Full-time National Servicemen (with valid proof): SGD 6
Seniors (60 years and above with valid ID): SGD 6
Children (6 years old and below and accompanied by an adult): Free

Timings : 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Closed on Tuesday
Hourly tours start from 10:00 AM, with the last tour entry at 5:00 PM

Singapore Musical Box Museum, Singapore Overview

The Singapore Musical Box is the country's first music box museum. The aim of this museum is to share the historical framework from the rise and fall of the musical boxes to how it transitioned into 19th century Singapore's public. They also aim at functioning as a repository for education, academic research and above all, to preserve such valuable artefacts for valuable generations. The antiquities here are centuries old. Each Musical Box tells you a unique story of the craftsmanship of years. Around half of the exhibits here are from the United Kingdom, inclusive of the collection of Graham Webb. The rest of the collection here have mainly hailed from Germany, Switzerland and the United States.

The museum is located right next to the Thian Hock Keng Temple in Telok Ayer Street. It presents to its visitors, innumerable musical boxes from the personal collection of the founder of the museum, Mr.Naoto Orui. The museum has been awarded the UNESCO Asia Pacific Heritage 2001 Awards for cultural heritage. It exhibits over 40 antique musical boxes. The museum features 'China'- a musical box which was one of the first collaborations between Singapore and Britain.

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Collection at Singapore Musical Box Museum

  • The museum has a very intricate collection of the musical boxes. One particular music box is rather elaborate. It has drawers to store interchangeable cylinders for different tracks of music. 
  • Due to their working mechanisms, music boxes typically produce only 1 level of loudness. However, one specific music box defied this limitation by having two sets of combs. One was meant for the loud notes and the other for softer notes. 
  • Another distinct artefact was the disc music box. A German artisan called Paul Lochmann worked on a music box that used punched disc instead of cylinders to store music. This creation revolutionised the entire industry of music box as discs are items of mass production at that time, unlike cylinders, which were only handmade. This led to the production of music boxes on slashed prices and in turn, bought by more people.
  • At the far end of the museum, huge music boxes believed to be forerunners of the music jukeboxes, are on display. According to the owner, Orui San, this was meant to sail on the Titanic, but hence they wanted a larger box on it, this music box went to the Atlantic instead. It is powered by a falling weight raised by winding a crack (more like how grandfather clocks work). This enormous box has a piano, a mandolin, bass drum, snare drum and a triangle in it. To start the museum, a coin has to be inserted in it.
  • At last, is the star of the museum, 'China'. This is regarded as the music box movement made in Singapore, in the 1800s. This box goes back in time when Singapore was still a British colony. During this time, the art of watchmaking skills and the art of making music box were passed down to the Singapore locals by the British. This is where it all started.

Singapore Musical Box Museum Tour

There is a compulsory tour of the museum due to the nature and sensitivity of the exhibits and artefacts. The tour is inclusive of the admission ticket. It takes about 40 minutes to an hour to tour the entire museum, and this tour will be led by a trained guide or curator of the museum. Hourly tours start at 10:00 AM and the last tour entry at sharp 5:00 PM. The visitors interested to tour the museum are encouraged the contact the museum authorities and book a time slot for themselves, to avoid waiting time.

Museum Store of Singapore Musical Box

The Musical Box Museum of Singapore has a museum store which sells large varieties of musical boxes. This store has replicas of the original musical boxes displayed in the museum. The store is stacked on adorable musical teddy bears, gracefully dancing Ballerinas, musical photo frames, jewellery boxes that play melodious tunes and also vintage musical boxes. Some of the major brands that the store has are Reuge, from Switzerland and Orpheus/Sankyo from Japan.

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