17 Museums in Singapore You Might Not Be Aware of

17 Museums in Singapore You Might Not Be Aware of

Think classic video game exhibits, underground chambers, and ship simulators!

Ask anyone to name the most popular museums in Singapore, and you’ll most likely get these common answers: the National Museum, National Gallery, and ArtScience Museum. While these names have certainly earned their fame with their spectacular exhibits and architecture, there are many other museums in Singapore that truly deserve more recognition! For example, think heritage galleries devoted to fire fighting and the maritime industry, or something unique like video game museums. We’ve rounded up 17 lesser-known museums in Singapore to explore!

Also read: Asia’s Weirdest Museums that are Totally Worth a Visit

Educational museums in Singapore

1. Civil Defence Heritage Gallery

museums in singapore central fire station

Image credit: Craig Stanfill

Firstly, take a look at Central Fire Station, known for its iconic red-brick colonial structure. Besides being one of Singapore’s coolest buildings, did you know that the Civil Defence Heritage Gallery resides here too?

Certainly, it’s not everyday that we get to learn about a profession not many of us can get a glimpse into. Thus, why not take a step inside to marvel at the displays of firetrucks, plus firefighting and rescue equipment?

Address: 62 Hill St, Singapore 179367
Opening Hours: Tuesday–Sunday, 10am–4pm (Reservation required)
Entry fee: Free

2. NEWater Visitor Centre

We’ve all been familiar with NEWater ever since attending the National Day Parades in primary school. But have you ever wondered how NEWater is produced, especially in a country that doesn’t have access to its own natural resources?

At the NEWater Visitor Centre, visitors get to learn about water sustainability in Singapore. You could, for example, join the interactive tours and educational workshops for a fun-filled and enriching afternoon. What’s more, it’s suitable for all ages!

Address:20 Koh Sek Lim Rd, Singapore 486593
Opening hours: Tuesday–Sunday, 9am–5.30pm
Entry fee: Free (Reservation recommended)

3. Singapore Maritime Gallery

Although popular for day trips to the Southern Islands, Marina South Pier is also home to the Singapore Maritime Gallery! Visitors can expect a plethora of exhibits showcasing the history and importance of the maritime industry in Singapore. Not only are there colourful displays perfect for the young ones, but adults can also look forward to exciting and interactive exhibits like ship simulators!

Address: 31 Marina Coastal Dr, Level 2, Singapore 018988
Opening hours: Tuesday–Sunday, 9am–6pm
Entry fee: Free 

History museums in Singapore

4. Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall

Besides its declaration as a heritage institution by the National Heritage Board, Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall dedicates its space to the history of the Singapore Chinese Community. In particular, the exhibits centre on community leaders in the 20th century, Nanyang as a base for revolution, and the 1911 Chinese Revolution.

Not to mention, the facade of the museum is absolutely Insta-worthy!

Address: 12 Tai Gin Rd, Singapore 327874
Opening hours: Tuesday–Sunday, 10am–5pm
Entry fee: Free for Singapore Citizens, PRs, and children below 6 years old; S$12 (Foreigner adults); S$6 (Foreigner students & senior citizens)

5. NUS Baba House

While awaiting the reopening of Peranakan Museum (which is currently undergoing renovation), NUS Baba House is another museum in Singapore dedicated to Peranakan history, architecture, and heritage. Situated along a row of shophouses, NUS Baba House stands out as a cerulean three-storey townhouse with a history of more than 100 years!

Address: 157 Neil Rd, Singapore 088883
Opening Hours: Tuesday–Friday, 10am–11am; Saturday, 1pm–4.30pm (Reservation required)
Entry Fee: Free for Singapore Citizens and PRs; S$10 for foreign visitors 

6. The Cathay Gallery

the cathay gallery museums in singapore

Image credit: Jnzl’s Photos

Calling all film and photography buffs: The Cathay Gallery is the museum for you. Besides the massive cinema halls located in The Cathay, its second-floor exhibits allow guests to revel in the impressive world of the film industry. For instance, The Cathay Gallery traces the history of The Cathay movie empire, from its debut in the 1800s to its established pervasiveness today. Besides learning about the Singaporean and Malaysian cinematic journeys, you can also look forward to exhibits of vintage cameras and movie posters!

Address: 2 Handy Rd, The Cathay, #02-16 Singapore 229233
Opening hours: Monday–Friday, 2pm–6pm; Saturday, 12pm–6pm
Entry fee: Free

7. Singapore Musical Box Museum

Established in 2015, Singapore Musical Box Museum is the first of its kind on our island. In the 19th and 20th centuries, these contraptions were celebrated as an important European symbol. However, soon after, these antiques also became popular in Southeast Asia, with Singapore being one of the driving forces in cultivating an interest in these marvelous machines.

When you head over to this museum in Singapore, expect to not only see the usual tiny musical boxes, but life-sized displays too!

Address: 168 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068619
Opening Hours: Daily, 10am–5pm (Reservation required)
Entry Fee: S$12 (Adults); S$6 (Students & senior citizens); Free (6 years old and below)

8. Eurasian Heritage Gallery

Since it’s categorised as an “other” race in Singapore, admittedly not many people fully understand Eurasian heritage and culture. Thus, with the newly opened Eurasian Heritage Gallery, visitors can learn about the rich history and culture of the small but vibrant Eurasian community in Singapore! Through artefacts, interactive exhibits, and multimedia installations, it’s an engaging experience for all ages to remind us of the multiracialism that Singapore is so widely known for.

Address: 139 Ceylon Rd, The Eurasian Association, Singapore 429744
Opening Hours: Tuesday–Friday, 10am–5pm
Entry Fee: Free for Singapore Citizens and PRs; S$5 for foreign visitors 

9. Singapore Chinese Opera Museum

Singapore Chinese Opera Museum is one of the few (perhaps the only) museums in Singapore dedicated to the nation’s art form of Chinese opera. Besides chronicling the history of the traditional practice, there are also exhibits displaying Chinese opera costumes and props.

In addition, there’s also a cafe within the area where you can pick up a cuppa or slice of cake at!

Address: Sultan Plaza #01-27, 100 Jalan Sultan, Singapore 199001
Opening Hours: Tuesday–Friday, 11am–6pm (Reservation required)
Entry Fee: Free

War museums in Singapore

10. Changi Chapel and Museum

Changi Chapel and Museum is dedicated to the stories of the prisoners of war and civilians in the Changi prison camp during the Japanese Occupation. In order to ensure the authenticity of the museum, personal narratives were gathered from families of former internees. Thus, guests are encouraged to remember and reflect on the courage and resilience that these brave men and women showed in the face of hardship.

Address: 1000 Upper Changi Rd North, Singapore 507707
Opening Hours: Tuesday–Sunday, 9.30am–5.30pm
Entry Fee: Free for Singapore Citizens and PRs; S$8 (Foreigner adults); S$6 (Foreigner students & senior citizens) 

11. Battlebox

Did you know that one of Singapore’s most picturesque green spaces, Fort Canning Park, is also home to another one of Singapore’s most significant history museums? Besides walking through the lush forest, an afternoon spent at Battlebox will be quite a captivating journey too. From the moment you step into the chambers, you’ll feel a coolness immediately surrounding you, lending the space an ominous air. However, this atmosphere is precisely the tone that the museum deserves; to clarify, it marks Singapore’s darkest period during WWII.

Previously a WWII British underground command centre, the Battlebox served as the headquarters of the Malaya Command (the army that defended Malaya and Singapore in WWII). But perhaps the most significant fact about Battlebox is this: The British made the decision to surrender Singapore to the invading Japanese on 15 February 1942 at this very spot. Talk about a moment that defined the course of history!

Address: 2 Cox Terrace, Singapore 179622
Opening Hours: Friday–Sunday, 9.30am–5.30pm 
Entry Fee: S$20 (Adults); S$10 (Children from 7 to 12 years old)

12. Fort Siloso

Another fascinating history museum in Singapore, Fort Siloso is definitely one of the more overlooked attractions on Sentosa Island. Fort Siloso was built in the late 19th century, and is regarded as a cherished historical site. The fort was also used by the British forces to defend Singapore during the Japanese invasion of WWII.

Today, visitors can marvel at the array of WWII memorabilia here. For example, coastal guns are prominently perched out front, and preserved fortified military structures and tunnels grace the inside.

Address: Siloso Rd, Singapore 099981
Opening Hours: Daily, 10am–5pm 
Entry Fee: Free  

13. Former Ford Factory

former ford factory

Image credit: Sengkang of ENglish

Likewise, the Former Ford Factory is perfect if you enjoy gallivanting through the halls of history museums. Initially the headquarters of the Ford Motor Company in 1941, the premises became seized during WWII as a base for producing Japanese military vehicles. Ford Motor resumed its operation after WWII until it closed down in 1980. Since 2006, the site has been declared a national monument, home to a permanent WWII exhibit.

Address: 351 Upper Bukit Timah Rd, Singapore 588192
Opening Hours: Tuesday–Sunday, 9am–5.30pm (Reservation required)
Entry Fee: Free for Singapore Citizens and PRs; S$3 for foreign visitors 

Unique museums in Singapore

14. Red Dot Design Museum

Situated by the waterfront promenade, Red Dot Design Museum is actually one of the more underrated museums in Singapore. It is a  boutique museum dedicated to the world of design. In addition to marveling at the creative works of art,  visitors can also browse the shop for curated design objects. In keeping with the design theme, you can also fill your tummies at the abstract museum cafe. For instance, look forward to tucking into delicious and eye-catching award-winning local delicacies!

Address:11 Marina Blvd, Singapore 018940
Opening hours: Wednesday–Friday, 12pm–6pm; Saturday–Sunday, 9am–6pm (The museum shop and cafe have different operating hours)
Entry fee: S$10 (Adults); Free (6 years old and below)

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15. JCU Museum of Video and Computer Games

Perhaps the most impressive on this list of museums in Singapore is the JCU Museum of Video and Computer Games. There are many reasons why: Apart from being Southeast Asia’s first museum entirely dedicated to video and computer games, it’s quite an unknown gem (to clarify, it’s not even listed on Google Maps)! But, we’re here to shed some light on this exclusive museum.

Located within the James Cook University (JCU) Singapore campus, visitors can expect to browse through a collection of classic game consoles. Furthermore, if you’re an avid video gamer, you can even try your hand at playing an old-school video game on one of their many vintage consoles!

Address: 149 Sims Drive, Singapore 389980
Entry fee: Free (Reservation required)

16. The Live Turtle and Tortoise Museum

Better described as a petting zoo or animal sanctuary, The Live Turtle and Tortoise Museum has been around since 2001. It houses more than 500 turtles and tortoises, with a number of them being rare breeds and endangered species.

Previously located within the Chinese Gardens, this museum in Singapore now calls ORTO its home. This recreational complex makes for an ideal weekend outing, as you’ll find many other activities too: Such as prawning, a trampoline park, and even a go-karting track!

Address: 81 Lor Chencharu, #01-16, ORTO 769198
Opening Hours: Wednesday–Monday, 10am–6pm
Entry Fee: Various prices

17. The Gem Museum

Are you a fan of gemstones and minerals? Then take a look at Singapore’s only museum featuring the world of gems! Besides the wide variety of fascinating stones at The Gem Museum, the intricate process of gemstone manufacturing is laid out in great detail too.

Address: 26 Kandahar St, Level 2, Singapore 198888
Opening Hours: Tuesday–Friday, 12pm–5pm; Saturday, 11am–3pm (Reservation required)
Entry Fee: Free

In conclusion, apart from the island’s breathtaking history and art galleries occupying the CBD area, there are plenty more museums in Singapore to explore. So, why not head over to these unique museums in Singapore instead to spend your day off? From learning about the maritime industry to exploring the world of gemstones, there’s truly so much to explore in the Little Red Dot!

About Author

Cassandra Nerva
Cassandra Nerva

Cassandra seeks comfort in warm blankets, period dramas, and all things hazelnut. If she's not getting carried away with a wartime novel or decorating her house with plants & fairy lights, she's uncovering hidden gems around her as she continues to embrace her keen sense of adventure.

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