If you’re interested in learning about Singapore’s history and culture, the National Museum of Singapore is your spot. This is the oldest and largest museum in Singapore and a fascinating place to spend a few hours or even the whole day. There is plenty to take in here including beautiful architecture and interesting exhibitions about Singapore. In addition, the museum has fun events for all ages and great dining options.
History of the National Museum of Singapore
The museum was originally built in 1849 as the Raffles Library and Museum in the Singapore Institution. In 1887, it moved to its present location on Stamford Road where it became a centre of research and home to precious artefacts. After independence in 1965, the building officially became the National Museum of Singapore. For a brief time it was called the Singapore History Museum, but it returned to its previous name after restorations in the early 2000s.
What to See and Do at the National Museum of Singapore
The building itself features a mix of neo-classical and renaissance architectural styles with modern glass and steel additions. Interesting features include the dome with its 3,000 fish scale tiles and stained glass panels. Be sure to also check out the glass rotunda designed by I.M. Pei. Throughout the buildings you’ll find original timber floors, windows and doors.
The Singapore History Gallery is a good place to start your visit. Here you can learn about how Singapore grew from a small fishing village to the modern metropolis it is today. The multi-media exhibits include films, artefacts, paintings, photographs and more. The other galleries give insight into contemporary Singaporean culture with exhibitions on everything from fashion to food and modern art.
If roaming the halls works up an appetite, head to the museum’s stylish dining destinations. Food for Thought is a casual cafe offering dishes that take inspiration from stories from the galleries like the soft shell crab linguine and Chinese chicken caesar sandwich. Flutes is a bit more upscale and offers modern fusion dishes like the pan-seared foie gras with pineapple and lobster laksa noodles. In addition to lunch and dinner, Flutes also does brunch and afternoon tea.
National Museum of Singapore Events
There’s always something exciting going on at the museum with events and activities happening nearly every week. For example, you can join family fun days or take in art exhibitions, film screenings and inspiring talks. One of our favourites is the Night Festival. This annual event features spectacular light displays and art installations.
Entrance fee: Permanent galleries: $15 per adult, $10 for senior citizens (60 years and above) and students. Special exhibitions: $18 per adult, $14 for senior citizens and students. All galleries: $26 per adult, $19 for senior citizens and students.
Opening hours: Daily 10am – 7pm
National Gallery of Singapore, 93 Stamford Road, Singapore 178897. p. +65 6332 3659