Singapore’s history is rich and its cultural offering is vibrant. Recent years have seen big-ticket exhibitions pass through and draw huge crowds, but some of the museums and galleries in Singapore are home to permanent installations that are awe-inspiring, wondrous and educational. There’s no shortage of them either, so we’ve rounded up our favourite museums and galleries in Singapore, you need to visit. Wonderfully, most are free entry for Singaporeans, permanent residents and children.
1. National Museum of Singapore
The National Museum of Singapore is home to more than 1,700 historical and cultural artefacts housed in the Singapore History Gallery, Life in Singapore: The Past 100 Years Galleries and Goh Seng Choo Gallery. There are interactive exhibits, installations you can walk through and impressive Story of the Forest exhibition. Best of all, it’s free to visit for citizens, permanent residents and children ages 6 years and under. For everyone else, get your tickets here.
📍93 Stamford Road, Singapore
2. ArtScience Museum
Across 21 galleries, art and science come together to explore creative processes, the future, other worlds and a VR experience as well where curiosity, innovation and experimentation are celebrated. Hands-on workshops and exhibits will excite your senses. For example. Future World is one of the most popular exhibitions that recently received an upgrade. Certainly, one of the best museums in Singapore.Ticket prices vary according to which gallery you visit.
📍6 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore
3. The Children’s Museum
Singapore’s first museum just for children opened in December 2022. The one-of-a-kind museum invites children who are 12 years old and under to enter a wonderful world of play and learning. It is housed in a historic colonial building, formerly the Singapore Philatelic Museum, built in 1906. It boasts an array of playful experiences, family-friendly gaming, alongside engaging programmes for all age groups, created in collaboration with educators, to help develop children’s learning about Singapore’s heritage and the rest of the world. Read further about the Children’s Museum.
📍Coleman Street, 23-B, Singapore 179807
4. National Gallery Singapore
There is no bigger museum or gallery in Singapore than the National Gallery Singapore. Formerly the Supreme Court and City Hall, it’s mammoth and it’s home to the largest public collection of Singaporean and Southeast Asian art in the world focusing on art from the 19th century up until today. It’s also home to sumptuous restaurants as well as the Smoke & Mirrors rooftop bar, which is well worth a visit.
If you’re a local, entry is free. For everyone else, grab your tickets here.
📍1 St Andrew’s Road, #01 – 01, Singapore
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5. MINT Museum of Toys
If you like toys (why wouldn’t you?), they should hold a special place in your heart, your memory, your childhood, then look no further than MINT Museum of Toys where you can be surrounded by more than 50,000 of them. Dating from as far back as the 1840s and collected from 40 countries, the museum is four levels of nostalgia divided into four thematic themes. From the only known complete Batman robot toy, to the only Mekon Mask from Dan Dare in existence and the first mass-manufactured robot before World War II…you’ll be spoilt for choice.
📍26 Seah Street, Singapore
Get your tickets to MINT Museum of Toys here.
6. Asian Civilisations Museum
China, Southeast Asia, South Asia and West Asia are all represented at Asian Civilisations Museum where a pan-Asia perspective on our cultures is showcased across 11 galleries and 5000 years. Take your time, there’s a lot to get through. The museum’s permanent galleries are free to explore for Singaporeans and permanent residents but if you need a ticket, click here.
📍1 Empress Place, Singapore
7. Trick Eye Museum Singapore
If you’re after somewhere a bit more light, a lot more fun and where you can feature in the art as well, then the Trick Eye Museum at Resorts World Sentosa is your go-to place. Enter the worlds of optical illusions and more where you can touch, feel and interact with the artworks. Definitely, one of the best museums in Singapore.
📍80 Siloso Road, Southside Interim Market Blk B # 01, #04, Singapore
8. Madame Tussauds Experience
Wax museums never cease to amaze people with their uniqueness. Madame Tussauds in Sentosa is no different with star-studded experiences, a VR racing experience and the Spirit of Singapore boat ride. Take selfies next to famous film stars, international celebrities and local heroes. Don’t forget to get up close to your favourite Marvel characters while enjoying a 4D movie. Try out the full Madame Tussauds experience.
📍40 Imbiah Road, Sentosa, Singapore
9. Peranakan Museum
The Peranakan Museum was closed for renovations for almost four years until February 2023. It’s one of the best upgraded museums in Singapore, exhibiting an all-new interior with nine permanent galleries, spotlighting different aspects of Peranakan culture, and educating visitors on what Peranakan is. Exploring multi-faceted diversity of Peranakan Asian communities, the museum is inclusive of different cultural expressions on Peranakan identity. With more than 800 artefacts and set pieces to admire – from old to new objects – the iconic museum explores Peranakan identities using three different themes spanning three floors. Read further about the museum here.
📍39 Armenian St, Singapore 179941
10. Vintage Camera’s Museum
The name of this museum pretty much says everything you need to know about what you will find inside. And if that’s not enough, the building itself resembles a vintage analogue camera as well. Inside, you’ll find old-school spy cameras, retro equipment and photographs too. Wondering how long you can spend inside? Well, how long would it take you to peruse the more than 1000 cameras? Plus, it’s one of the most unique experiences in Singapore.
📍8C Jln Kledek, Singapore
11. Lee Kong Chian National History Museum
The Lee Kong Chian National History Museum is also a research hub where scientists and the like are studying out past to better understand our present and our future. And they’ve got more than a thing or two to show us. From dinosaur fossils to displays of extinct animals and giant mammals as well as workshops where you can get a hands-on education, there’s a heap to explore and find out. Certainly, one of the best museums to explore in Singapore.
📍2 Conservatory Drive, Singapore
12. Singapore Art Museum at Tanjong Pagar Distripark
SAM is Singapore’s Contemporary Art in South East Asia museum. It is building one of the most important collections of Southeast Asian art in the world at multiple venues. At Tanjong Pagar Distripark, there are programmes and exhibitions to fascinate and educate.
📍39 Keppel Road, #01-02, Singapore
Find out what’s on at the moment.
13. Gillman Barracks
Gillman Barracks is nine galleries and one workshop all in one place, which just so happens to be a former military barracks dating back to 1936. It has become one of Singapore’s leading and focal points for art lovers. There’s just so much going on at Gillman Barracks including art outreach and tours as well as after-dark activities that it should definitely be on any art list in Singapore.
📍9 Lock Road, Singapore
14. Mr Lim’s Shop Of Visual Treasures
Mr Lim’s is by appointment only because it is often closed, but this “gallery thingy” has some pretty cool pieces from Mr Lim’s private collection. He’s also shaking up the Singapore art scene and showcasing some hot-art-star-stuff. A perfect activity to plan for a rainy day if you ask us!
📍#01-43 Tanglin Shopping Centre, 19 Tanglin Road, Singapore
15. White Space Art Asia
When you’re looking for new artists to admire, then White Space Art Asia needs to be visited. While they won’t necessarily answer you if you ask Is this good art?, they will tell you that “good art starts with artists with strong fundamental grounding in art and has a compelling story to tell”.
📍1H Yong Siak Street, Singapore
Editorial contribution by Megan Zara Walsh (2023)