Singapore Museums | Top Landmarks & Activities for History Fans


Singapore is home to a wide variety of world-class museums. National museums invite visitors to immerse themselves in the rich history and culture of this city-state and the people who call Singapore home. From history museums to contemporary art museums, interactive science centers to pop culture museums dedicated to toys or ice cream, visitors won’t be disappointed by the quantity — or quality — of museum offerings that Singapore has to offer.


National Museums

There are several top-notch national museums to visit in Singapore. Visitors will find much to admire about each of them, from the stunning architectural details of the buildings to the impressive collections and interactive exhibits that can be found inside. There’s something for everyone to enjoy and admire. Most museums have a café or restaurant inside, making it easy to grab a bite to eat or enjoy a coffee after touring the exhibitions. Gift shops at select museums are a must for travelers wishing to take something home.

National Museum of Singapore

Tourists who wish to learn more about Singapore‘s history can visit the National Museum of Singapore. It’s the oldest museum in Singapore, with roots dating back to 1849 when it was then known as the Raffles Library and Museum. In 1887, the museum moved to its current location on Stamford Road. The building itself blends neo-classical architecture with modern flourishes. The museum is home to numerous important artifacts from the region. It offers several virtual, historical, and cultural exhibitions. The museum also hosts events and rotating exhibitions, as well as festivals and film screenings.

Asian Civilisations Museum (Empress Place Building)

The Asian Civilisations Museum (Empress Place Building) highlights the cultural diversity of Singapore. Notably, the Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) is the only museum in the region to feature artifacts of Southeast Asian, South Asian, West Asian, Chinese, and the ancient Singaporean culture under one roof. There’s much to discover here. Guests can explore Singapore‘s important role as a center for global trade or admire ancient artifacts that showcase the ancestors and rituals of Southeast Asia, all through ACM’s display of Asian artifacts and decorative art. Daily guided tours are free of charge.

Singapore Art Museum

Contemporary art aficionados will appreciate a stop at Singapore Art Museum, which is known for its exclusive showcase of modern art. Singapore Art Museum (SAM) comprises several spaces — not just one building — including two heritage buildings and a dedicated space at Tanjong Pagar Distripark. While the two buildings are closed for renovation until 2026, visitors can still explore the new location at Tanjong Pagar Distripark. SAM provides visitors with new, innovative, and experimental ways to experience and interact with art.

Peranakan Museum – Singapore

Learn all about the Peranakan culture at the Peranakan Museum. Peranakan (which means “locally born” in Malay) culture usually refers to someone born of both Chinese and Malay/Indonesian heritage. Many Peranakans recognize and trace their ancestry back to Chinese traders who settled in the region and married local women. The museum is housed in a former school and features exhibits depicting Peranakan culture and life. Artifacts and displays are featured over three floors. Please note that as of November 2022, the museum is closed for renovation.

National Gallery Singapore

A visit to National Gallery Singapore takes guests to the city-state’s newest — and largest — visual arts venue. It’s dedicated to highlighting modern art from Singapore and Southeast Asia. The gallery is housed in two of Singapore‘s landmark buildings — the former Supreme Court and City Hall building. Inside, visitors will find over 8,000 pieces on display that feature art from the 19th century up to the present day. Guests will also find guided tours, talks with artists and curators, and lecture series here, as well as an art education center known as the Keppel Centre for Art Education.


Other Can’t-Miss Museums

No visit to Singapore would be complete without a visit to other must-see museums that offer tourists a taste of something different. Whether visitors wish to take in one of the many rotating exhibits at the ArtScience Museum or cultivate their inner child at the MINT Museum of Toys, there’s no shortage of attractions and themed museums here.

ArtScience Museum

The ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands features exhibitions, galleries, experiences, and special events. The museum is dedicated to exploring the intersection of art, science, culture, and technology. It houses 21 galleries and features an ever-changing rotation of touring exhibitions. These international exhibitions result from collaborations with renowned museums and universities from around the world. ArtScience Museum‘s permanent exhibition, FUTURE WORLD: Where Art Meets Science, invites visitors to immerse themselves in a large digital space full of interactive art installations that are centered around four themes: nature, town, park, and science.

Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, located on the campus of the National University of Singapore, features over 2,000 specimens on display that showcase the diversity of the region. Fifteen distinct thematic zones explore the history of life on Earth and illustrate the development of different flora and fauna over time. Here visitors will discover information about plants, amphibians, dinosaurs, and mammals. In addition to other scientific zones and the heritage gallery, which highlights Singapore‘s work in the field of biodiversity, the museum also houses three diplodocid sauropod skeletons — a must-see attraction. Visitors will also find the museum gardens, which highlight the rich plant life found in and around Singapore.

Science Centre Singapore

Science Centre Singapore features over 1,000 interactive exhibits across more than a dozen gallery spaces. There are 20 permanent exhibitions here for guests to enjoy, along with other must-see attractions. KidsSTOP™ is a children’s science center for children ages 8 and younger. It features interactive activities designed to inspire and delight children in the areas of science and technology. Omni-Theatre houses a five-story high IMAX dome screen that features films on topics that range from dinosaurs to astronomy and more. Visitors will also find workshops and science demonstrations to choose from at Science Centre Singapore, as well as Snow City, the first permanent indoor snow center in the city-state, home to plenty of family-friendly activities.

Red Dot Design Museum

The second iteration of the Red Dot Design Museum (the first was founded in Essen, Germany in 1955 and so named for the Red Dot Design Award) can be found near the Waterfront Promenade at Marina Bay. The museum showcases over 300 contemporary design works that have won the Red Dot Design Award, and the building itself is an impressive display of architectural design. The museum shop allows visitors to purchase unique design items, while the on-site Café Bar serves up coffees, gelatos, and treats — perfect for relaxing in the afternoon before setting off again for more sightseeing.

Battlebox at Fort Canning Park

History lovers will appreciate a visit to Battlebox at Fort Canning Park, an underground military complex that was used as a secret command center during World War Two. Here, Malaya Command was headquartered; it’s also where the British army surrendered Singapore to Japan in 1942. Admission to Battlebox at Fort Canning Park allows visitors into the site, which is now a museum, on a guided tour. On the tour, guests will see the corridors and rooms that made up the command center. Following the tour, guests are welcome to explore the underground bunker independently.

MINT Museum of Toys

Children and the young at heart can view over 50,000 vintage toys collected from around the globe at MINT Museum of Toys. There are four thematic levels here: Outerspace, Characters, Childhood Favorites, and Collectables. In the basement of the same building, Vertigo26 offers visitors an auditory experience. Here, music lovers can shop for vinyl records, listen to music, and enjoy a craft beer or cocktail. At the top of the building, The Public Gallery houses an exhibition space to showcase artwork and Mr. Punch Rooftop Bar, which features an English pub-like feel and a relaxed atmosphere. Vintage enamel signs cover the bar’s walls, bringing more of the MINT Museum of Toys nostalgia along with it.

Museum of Ice Cream

Visitors can indulge their sweet tooth and rediscover their inner child at the Museum of Ice Cream (MOIC). The museum originated in New York City., but now this can’t-miss attraction can also be enjoyed on a visit to Singapore. The museum’s bright, pastel colors are sure to please the senses as guests wander through multi-sensory and interactive displays. Highlights here include the Dragon Playground, Banana Jungle, and Sprinkle Pool. Social media aficionados will love taking pictures in the vibrant Sprinkle Pool, and no visit to the Museum of Ice Cream would be complete without enjoying ice cream treats along the way.

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