What with the endless imposing, glass skyscrapers stretching up into the sky and the hustle and bustle of frenetic business people, scurrying about their bases, it’s easy to forget that this first world city-state had, and still has, such a rich culture to experience.
There are museums aplenty and some of these cultural institutions are actually found in well-preserved heritage buildings.
That’s not to say that the museums in Singapore are old fashioned. Far from it. In true modern Singaporean style there are some exciting innovations to behold.
Have a Closer Look at the List of 29 Best Art Galleries and Museums in Singapore
1. National Museum of Singapore
Opening in 1887 this is the oldest museum to be found in Singapore, having been first established as the Raffles Library and Museum.
Immersive and interactive displays tell the story of Singapore from as far back as the thirteenth century, to its existence as a colony under the British and finally how it ended up in its modern-day position in the business world.
Address: 93 Stamford Rd, Singapore 178897
Opening Hours: Mon – Sun (10am – 7pm)
Phone: +65 6332 3659
2. Ode to Art
Easily missed as it is hidden away in the huge Raffles shopping complex, this classic art gallery specializes in pieces from Singapore and Malaysia. Though it does feature some big artists from across the world.
This is a gallery that must be sought out by anyone with even a passing interest in contemporary art.
Address: 252 North Bridge Rd, #01-36E F, Raffles City Shopping Centre, Singapore 179103
Opening Hours: Mon – Sun (11am – 9pm)
Phone: +65 6250 1901
3. National Gallery in Singapore
An amazing building that houses the largest collection of southeast Asian art in the world, it’s not surprising that it took ten years to build, collate and open.
It’s not just an art gallery either, there are fantastic restaurants and bars to sample here too.
Address: 1 St Andrew’s Rd, #01 – 01, Singapore 178957
Opening Hours: Mon – Sun (10am – 7pm)
Phone: +65 6271 7000
4. Singapore Art Museum
This beautiful building started out in life as the first Catholic school in Singapore, the St Joseph’s Institution. Nowadays it is an ever-changing collection of some of the best in southeast Asian contemporary art.
Address: 71 Bras Basah Rd, Singapore 189555
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri (9am – 6pm)
Phone: +65 66979 730
5. Red Dot Design Museum in Singapore
This museum can trace its roots back to Germany where it was founded, in Essen, in the 1950s. Its flagship museum is still there. This is a completely modern, glass and steel museum, whose main focus is on contemporary design.
Address: 11 Marina Blvd, Singapore 018940
Temporarily closed until 8 April 2022
Phone: +65 6514 0111
6. ArtScience Museum
As the name suggests, this museum combines art and science, but it also has collections dedicated to technology, architecture, media, and design.
Some of its most prominent works are from behemoths of the art and design world like Leonardo da Vinci, Andy Warhol, and Salvatore Dali.
Address: 6 Bayfront Ave, Singapore 018974
Opening Hours: Mon – Sun (10am – 7pm)
Phone: +65 6688 8888
7. Asian Civilisations Museum
Singapore is a melting pot of civilizations whose origins are throughout the Asian world and much further. This museum explores the multicultural roots of Singapore and traces how society there has been formed.
The museum’s location is the mouth of the Singapore River, a point that first made the country a trading center for the rest of the world.
Address: 1 Empress Pl, Singapore 179555
Opening Hours: Mon – Sun (10am – 7pm)
Phone: +65 6332 7798
8. Lee Kong Chiang Natural History Museum
This is not on the same scale as the Natural History Museum in London, it is also fairly expensive, but it is no less impressive.
The LKC Natural History Museum focuses on biodiversity and scientific research that is related specifically to Singapore or Southeast Asia.
Address: 2 Conservatory Dr, Singapore 117377
Opening Hours: Tues – Sun (10am – 6pm) / Monday is closed
Phone: +65 6601 3333
9. Mint Museum of Toys
Mint does not mean ‘immaculate’, as it does in London slang. It actually stands for Moment of Imagination and Nostalgia with Toys. There are over 50,000 toys on display, some from before WWII.
Address: 26 Seah St, Singapore 188382
Opening Hours: Mon – Sun (9:30am – 6:30pm)
Phone: +65 8339 8966
Last Admission at 6pm
10. National Design Centre
It’s difficult to believe from the art deco exterior that this building used to be the home of a convent. It’s even more difficult to believe from the ultra-modern inside.
Though this is the center of Singapore’s thriving design scene so it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.
Address: 111 Middle Rd, Singapore 188969
Opening Hours: Mon – Sun (9am – 9pm)
Phone: +65 6333 3737
11. Peranakan Museum
Another museum housed inside a building that used to serve another purpose. This time, a Chinese school. Now the interior is dedicated to everything Peranakan, including culture, history and the visual arts.
It’s worth avoiding the tour groups here as space is limited and can be cramped.
Address: 39 Armenian St, Singapore 17994
Phone: +65 6332 7591
12. Singapore Musical Box Museum
Any amateur inventors will find themselves in their own mini paradise here, especially those interested in the obscure device that is the musical box. There are over 40 on display, some dating from the nineteenth century.
Address: 168 Telok Ayer St, Singapore 068619
Opening Hours: Mon – Sun (10am – 5:30pm)
Phone: +65 9864 6021
13. National Library of Singapore
The national library of a country is generally its knowledge archive and the key to its past. Singapore’s version is no exception.
There are over 600,000 books and records that can be accessed here. It also boasts a pretty good view of downtown Singapore too.
Address: 100 Victoria St, Singapore 188064
Opening Hours: Mon – Sun (10am – 9pm)
Phone: +65 6332 3255
14. Museum of Contemporary Art / [email protected]
Bit of a cheat including this as it’s not really a museum, more like a warehouse that displays work by contemporary artists. Usually one artist at a time. Museum of contemporary art is also know as [email protected]
It’s worth looking up who they’re displaying at the time, rather than arriving to find it’s not an artist that anyone in the group has an interest in!
[email protected] had permanently closed the museum effectively from 11 February 2019 as the tenancy agreement of the property.
15. Indian Heritage Centre
This is a fairly new addition to the Singapore museum scene. It can be found, as you would expect, in the Little India district and celebrates the history of the country’s Indian community.
Address: 5 Campbell Ln, Singapore 209924
Opening Hours: Tues – Sun (10am – 7pm) / Monday is closed
Phone: +65 6291 1601
16. Singapore Science Centre
Great for families with young children who like to push buttons and generally interact and ‘fiddle’ with exhibits. The country’s only domed IMAX theatre is also here, showing nature documentaries in startling clarity.
It’s also where to find Snow City, where people can play in the snow despite the tropical temperatures outside.
Address: 15 Science Centre Rd, Singapore 609081
Opening Hours: Fri – Sun (10am – 1pm, 2pm – 5pm) / Monday to Thursday is closed
Phone: +65 6425 2500
17. Singapore Philatelic Museum
This museum turns what can be seen as a quirky, specialist hobby, into an interesting day out. Stamps are revered here in the old colonial building.
The collection is displayed so as to give a history of the country, politically, naturally and in terms of modern culture, all told by stamps.
Address: Coleman St, 23-B, Singapore 179807
Phone: +65 6337 3888
Currently Closed For Renovation and is expected to reopen as a children’s museum in 2022.
18. Malay Heritage Centre
As you would expect, this museum is located at an important location for Malayans, formerly the seat of the Malay Sultans.
For anyone wanting to learn about the history and the rich culture of the Singapore Malayans, this is the place to go.
Address: 85 Sultan Gate, Singapore 198501
Opening Hours: Tues – Sun (10am – 6pm) / Mon is closed
Phone: +65 6391 0450
19. Singapore City Gallery
This one is easily missed, located in the offices of the URA, the Urban Redevelopment Authority. For anyone who wants to understand how Singapore could have possibly risen from a backwater, tropical island to first-world business behemoth this is the place to find out. It also reveals the plans for the future of the country.
Address: 45 Maxwell Road The URA Centre, Singapore 069118
Phone: +65 6221 6666
The Singapore City Gallery will be closed from 17 May 2021 until further notice.
20. Chinese Heritage Centre
As the name suggests, this museum explores the origins of another of Singapore’s most prominent communities, the Chinese.
Specifically, it looks into the spread of Chinese communities throughout the world and the ethnic identities these communities feel.
Address: 46 Nanyang Ave, Singapore 639817
Phone: +65 6513 8157
21. Fort Canning Battlebox
This is the underground bunker from WWII from which the Malaya Command operated against the Japanese.
This is the location for one of the most famous capitulations in the history of conflict, the surrendering of the British to the Japanese in 1942.
Address: 2 Cox Terrace, Singapore 179622
Opening Hours: Fri – Sun (9:30am – 5:30pm) / Monday to Thursday is closed
Phone: +65 6338 6133
22. Parkview Museum Singapore
This is located in a building that is worth visiting just to see why it’s locally known as Gotham City.
The focus in the newly opened gallery is contemporary art and the collections change frequently and often follow specific themes.
Address: 600 North Bridge Rd, Level 3 Parkview Square, Singapore 188778
Opening Hours: Mon – Sat (12PM – 7PM)
Phone: +65 6799 6971
23. Tanjong Pagar Distripark Museum
Singapore Art Museum is a collection of art galleries located in and around warehouses at the Tanjong Pagar Distripark.
Half the fun is actually spotting the galleries, some of which are displaying work from highly regarded, modern artists such as Sherman Ong.
Address: 39 Keppel Rd, Singapore 089065
Phone: +65 6377 6898
Also Read: Fun & Free Things to Do in Singapore
24. Vintage Cameras Museum Singapore
Even people who have no interest in photography seem to love looking through classic photographic equipment. Founded by a businessman and an artist, this is a collection that contains over a thousand vintage cameras.
If that’s not impressive enough, it also boasts the largest camera-shaped building in the world.
Address: 8D Jln Kledek, Singapore 199263
Opening Hours: Mon – Sun (10:30am – 7:30pm)
Phone: +65 6291 2278
25. Changi Chapel & Museum
Modern Singapore is heavily influenced by what happened to the country during the war and there are dedications and memories to that time spread throughout the city.
The Changi Museum is a poignant dedication to those that suffered and died during the Japanese occupation and documents events leading up, during and after this time.
Address: 1000 Upper Changi Rd N, Singapore 507707
Opening Hours: Tues – Sun (9:30am – 5:30pm) / Monday is closed
Phone: +65 6242 6033
26. The Maritime Experiential Museum
Even if this place has been seen on previous visits it’s well worth another look, thanks to a huge makeover that it has enjoyed at an equally huge cost.
Where it used to be just admiring ship replicas, now the displays are much more interactive. Watch out for pirates!
Maritime Experiential Museum in Sentosa Island , had permanently closed effectively from 2nd March, 2020, in order to expand the of S.E.A Aquarium.
27. Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum
If all the museums are to be believed, Buddha would have had a lot of teeth. This is another museum that claims to have the authentic article, housed within its Brains, Blood, Muscle and Flesh Relics of Buddha department.
Address: 288 South Bridge Rd, Singapore 058840
Opening Hours: Mon – Sun (9am – 5pm)
Phone: +65 6220 0220
Explore: The Iconic Temples of Singapore
28. Singapore Discovery Centre
A great way to experience the story of Singapore. All five of the galleries tell the tale with interactive exhibits and other sensory tools. The Visionarium, an interactive 360-degree screen, is a particular favorite.
Address: 510 Upper Jurong Rd, Singapore 638365
Opening Hours: Thrus – Fri (1am – 6pm) & Sat – Sun (11am -8 pm) / Mon to Wed is closed
Phone: +65 6792 6188
29. Fort Siloso
Tells the story of how Japan achieved victory over Singapore during WWII as well as the fort itself being an interesting place to wander around. There are gun emplacements to explore as well as tunnels and lookout points. Another great one for the kids.
Address: Siloso Rd, Singapore 099981
Opening Hours: Mon – Sun (10am – 6pm)
Phone: +65 6736 8672
Above list of museums in Singapore is quite extensive, renting serviced apartments in Singapore and staying for a few days might be the only way to appreciate them all.