Singapore is a tiny country with a unique history that is just one of the things that makes the city-state so special. Founded as Temasek back in the 14th century, this vital Asian port started out under the control of successive Indian empires, before passing to the Dutch and finally the British. Finally, the country achieved independence in 1965, but its long history as a meeting point of different cultures from around the world has left the city with an incredible legacy of museums.
If you're a history buff, you'll find the museums in Singapore endlessly fascinating places to explore. But even if history isn't really your thing, Singapore has a good selection of art galleries and quirky museums that take a different approach to education. If nothing else, they make a great place to shelter from the rain during the monsoon season.
Drop off your bags at a Bounce luggage storage in Singapore and get ready to explore Singapore's best museums. These impressive museums are some of the top attractions in Lion City.
Singapore Art Museum
Art lovers will not want to miss this one. The Singapore Art Museum is dedicated to contemporary art from Southeast Asia, and as such, it is one of the foremost collections of this genre in the world. Committed fans of Southeast Asian art will be in heaven, but if you're not as familiar with what's new and cutting edge in the contemporary art world, this impressive gallery will give you an education, and you'll probably come away with some new favorites.
While the focus is on Southeast Asian art, the museum features rotating and temporary exhibits that celebrate art from all across Asia. It's a perfect place to get a deeper understanding of modern art and celebrate the cultural fusion Singapore is famous for.
National Museum of Singapore
The National Museum of Singapore is the city's oldest museum, and it's also one of the most impressive. It covers the nation's history from its humble beginnings as a fishing village to its days as a colonial port to its modern incarnation as a global financial center.
You'll find an incredible array of exhibitions and artifacts on display, including everything from ancient pottery to 18th-century furniture to vintage photographs. This is an absolute must-see for anyone interested in learning more about Singapore's fascinating past.
National Gallery Singapore
The National Gallery Singapore is the city's newest museum, and it's already one of the most popular tourist attractions. Housed in two restored 19th-century buildings, the former Supreme Court and City Hall, the gallery features a massive collection of modern and contemporary art from Southeast Asia and beyond.
There are over 8,000 works on display, including paintings, sculptures, installations, and photographs. If you're an art lover, you could easily spend a whole day here. And even if you're not usually interested in art, the stunning architecture of the buildings alone is worth the price of admission. Plus, since it's located in the center of the city, you'll be ideally placed to find the best street food in Singapore once you've finished your visit. And if you prefer something more high-end, the National Gallery Singapore is home to its own three Michelin star restaurant.
Asian Civilisations Museum
The Asian Civilisations Museum is one of the best places to learn about the rich history and cultures of Asia. The museum's collections cover everything from ancient Chinese jade to Indian textiles to Southeast Asian furniture.
But the real highlight of the museum is its exhibitions, which range from in-depth looks at specific cultures to broader surveys of Asian art and history. The museum also hosts regular events and programs, so there's always something new to see and learn. The varied collection here has something to appeal to everyone, so it's a great thing to do in Singapore with kids who might not usually be all that interested in museums.
The Peranakan Museum is one of the most unique and interesting museums in Singapore. It's dedicated to the city's Peranakan community, a group of people of Chinese descent who have assimilated into Malay culture.
The museum's collections include everything from traditional Peranakan clothing to kitchen utensils to religious artifacts. But the real highlight is the museum's stunning exhibitions, which bring the Peranakan culture to life in a way that you won't find anywhere else.
If you're interested in learning more about Singapore's history and culture, the Peranakan Museum is a must-visit. And even if you're not usually into museums, it's worth checking out for the sheer beauty of the exhibits.
The ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands is one of the most cutting-edge museums in Singapore. It's dedicated to exploring the intersection of art and science, and it does so through a variety of interactive exhibits and installations.
You'll find everything from an exhibit on the history of communications to a hands-on workshop on 3D printing. The ArtScience Museum is also home to a constantly changing schedule of special exhibitions, so there's always something new to see.
Even if you're not usually interested in art or science, the ArtScience Museum is worth a visit for its unique approach to exhibits and its stunning architecture. And if you are into art or science, you'll be blown away by what this museum has to offer.
Red Dot Design Museum
The Red Dot Design Museum is one of the best places in Singapore to learn about industrial design. The museum's collections cover everything from furniture to consumer electronics to transportation, and there are also regular exhibitions on specific topics.
But the real highlight of the museum is its interactive exhibits, which let you get up close and personal with some of the world's most innovative designs. You can try your hand at designing a product, or simply explore the museum's many galleries at your own pace.
Whether you're interested in design or not, the Red Dot Design Museum is a must-visit for anyone who wants to see some of the coolest stuff that Singapore has to offer.
Singapore Philatelic Museum
Stamp collecting isn't for everyone. But if you're a fan of history, art, or simply collecting things, the Singapore Philatelic Museum is a must-visit.
The museum's collections cover everything from the history of the postal service to the evolution of stamps to the art of stamp design. And even if you're not into stamps, the museum's beautiful galleries and interactive exhibits make it a great place to spend an afternoon.
Whether you're a stamp collector or not, the Singapore Philatelic Museum is worth a visit for its fascinating collections and stunning displays.
Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum
Located at the National University of Singapore, the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum is one of the best places in Singapore to learn about the natural world.
The museum's collections cover everything from dinosaurs to birds to insects, and there are also regular exhibitions on specific topics. But the real highlight of the museum is its interactive exhibits, which let you get up close and personal with some of the world's most amazing animals.
The fascinating exhibits here are usually a hit with kids. You'll probably find yourself just as fascinated as they are as you explore the permanent galleries of one of the best museums in Singapore.
Trick Eye Museum
The Trick Eye Museum is one of the most unique museums in Singapore. It's a 3D interactive museum, which means that you can pose with the exhibits for photos that look like they're straight out of a fairytale.
There are a variety of different themes to choose from, and each one is more imaginative than the last. You can pose with life-sized dinosaurs, explore a castle, or even become part of a work of art.
If you're looking for a fun and unique experience, the Trick Eye Museum is definitely worth a visit. And even if you're not into taking photos, the museum's exhibits are still fascinating to look at. It's also one of the best locations in the city to get unique selfies, so this art gallery can really help you up your social media game.
The Air Force Museum
Singapore was of immense strategic importance during the Second World War, and as a British territory, it saw a lot of conflict against the Japanese. Now an independent country, Singapore maintains a strong Air Force, and the history of this Air Force is commemorated at Peya Labar Air Base just outside the city.
Another great museum for kids, this military museum houses real jet fighters and bombers from different periods of Singapore's history. There are also interactive exhibits and role-playing games that explore Singapore's air defense and make this a thrilling museum to visit.
Singapore City Gallery
The Singapore City Gallery is a must-visit for anyone interested in the history and development of Singapore. The gallery tells the story of how Singapore went from a small fishing village to one of the most important cities in Asia.
You'll learn about some of the city's most iconic landmarks, as well as the people who made them possible. And you'll also get an inside look at some of the city's most ambitious development projects, like the Marina Bay Sands resort.
Whether you're a history buff or simply want to learn more about Singapore, the Singapore City Gallery is a great place to start. In fact, it's worth seeing for its miniature replica of the entire country of Singapore alone.
What are the best free museums in Singapore?
The National Gallery Singapore is free to visit for Singaporeans and permanent residents, but that may not be super helpful if you're visiting. However, on certain days of the year, all National Museums in the city are free, including the National Gallery and the National Museum of Singapore. New Year's Day, Chinese New Year, and Singapore's National Day on August 9 are some of the days when you can get free entry to the best museums in Singapore.
The Air Force Museum is also free to visit, making it one of the best free things to do in town and well worth the trip out of the downtown core. Plus, the Singapore City Gallery is also totally free.
Which are the best museums in downtown Singapore?
The Red Dot Design Museum is about as central as Singapore museums get, located as it is right in the city's Central Area. Nearby, you'll also find the ArtScience Museum, the Asian Civilisations Museum, and the National Museum of Singapore, so you can get a good variety of museums all within walking distance of one another.
Are there any cheap museums in Singapore?
Cheap and Singapore are two words you don't often hear together. But along with occasional free admission to the national museums, you can save some money by visiting some of the more affordable attractions in Singapore.
The Red Dot Design Museum is operated on a pay-what-you-want basis. The Philatelic Museum costs only six Singaporean dollars to visit. And while it will cost you 20 Singaporean dollars to get into the National Gallery, guided tours are free with a valid ticket, so a ticket offers great value for the price.
As you can see, the city-state of Singapore is home to countless museums and galleries that should pique your interest. Art, the history of Singapore, and the natural world are all explored in-depth in these fantastic museums. Plus, you can always find something different or quirky, like the Trick Eye Museum, if you're not into conventional museums.