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5 Must-See Museums in Singapore for First-Time Visitors

Singapore is more than just a city-state known for its high-end shopping districts, nature parks, and iconic statues.

Singapore is more than just a city-state known for its high-end shopping districts, nature parks, and iconic statues.

It’s no surprise that many travellers visiting Singapore for the first time can’t wait to see many of the city-state’s top tourist destinations. Popular spots that never cease to amaze foreign travellers include Orchard Road, The Singapore Flyer, Gardens by the Bay, and Merlion Park. However, Singapore is more than just a city-state known for its high-end shopping districts, nature parks, and iconic statues. It’s also known for its rich history and diverse culture, which can be seen on full display in the country’s museums.

Singapore has over 50 museums located all across the island, and each one offers a unique take on its heritage. Many of these museums are also easy to get to, so whether a traveller is staying at a Singapore airport accommodation or a hotel in the heart of the Lion City, they can simply use Singapore’s efficient public transport system to get to where they want to go. What’s more, Singapore’s museums house a variety of artefacts and host several exhibits each year, so it’s always a new and exciting experience when visiting them.

With so many museum attractions to choose from, however, it can be difficult to see and appreciate all of them during your stay. If you’re a first-time visitor who has limited time on their hands, but want to get a good understanding of Singapore’s culture, history, and art, here are five museums you should visit first:

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Chinatown Singapore

National Museum of Singapore

The National Museum of Singapore is Singapore’s oldest museum, and it’s dedicated to the country’s general history. It houses thousands of artefacts that tell the story of Singapore’s incredible legacy, which you can explore on your own or through a guided tour.

This museum also boasts immersive galleries and art exhibitions that use cutting-edge technology to enhance the experience of visitors. It also frequently hosts performances and film screenings each year, so you might be lucky enough to catch a live traditional music performance or original Singaporean film during your visit there.

National Gallery Singapore

Though it’s one of the newer museums in the country, the National Gallery Singapore is one of the most interesting in terms of its structure. Its doors officially opened to the public in 2015, but its foundations—i.e., the restored Supreme Court and City Hall buildings, which are connected together—were built in 1937 and 1926, respectively.

The National Gallery Singapore houses thousands of artworks, mainly consisting of Singaporean and Southeast Asian pieces. It’s also become a popular venue for holding various exhibitions and festivals. In addition, this gallery has a suite that features curated dining and retail spaces where visitors can eat and shop for one-of-a-kind museum merchandise. Don’t give up the opportunity to visit the National Gallery Singapore if you have the chance.

Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

As the only natural history museum in Singapore, the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum boasts a rich selection and a wide range of exhibits. Here, you’ll get to view amazing displays from Singapore’s largest collection of specimens, such as three massive dinosaur skeletons, a 10.6-metre-long sperm whale, and a slice of Singapore’s famous Changi Tree.

MINT Museum of Toys

One of the more unique museums on this list is the MINT Museum of Toys. Like its name implies, this museum doesn’t display historical artefacts or artworks, but rather an ever-growing toy collection that boasts over 50,000 vintage toys and collectibles.

This massive and impressive collection belongs to toy collector and enthusiast Mr. Chang Yang Fa, who procured his vintage toys and collectibles from over 40 countries. His collection includes a variety of vintage items including action figures, collectible cards and board games, film posters, vinyl records, and first-edition comic books and novels.

That said, the MINT Museum of Toys is definitely a place where kids can discover can learn what toys of the past looked like and where adults can reminisce about their colourful childhoods.

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum

Located in Singapore’s historic Chinatown district is the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum. This temple and museum complex is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike due to its religious significance. But even if you don’t practise the Buddhist faith, the two museums in the complex are still worth checking out.

The first museum is the Eminent Sangha Museum, which is located on the temple’s mezzanine level. This museum highlights the notable contributions of several eminent monks, and it features their biographies in detail. The second museum is the Nagapuspa Buddhist Culture Museum, which is located on the third floor of the temple. This museum houses an array of revered artefacts of the Buddha, as well as sacred reliquaries and stupas.

Singapore has a lot of interesting destinations that are definitely must-sees for first-time visitors, and the city-state’s museums make excellent points of interest for any travel itinerary. The five museums highlighted here will be a great first taste of Singapore’s rich history, culture, and heritage. Book your tickets and head to any one of these museums now!

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