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Culture: Six must-see galleries and museums in Singapore

Singapore has a number of fine museums, art galleries and libraries. These are some of the city’s top spots to view world-class exhibitions and artworks, theatre and much more.

Put these on your Red Dot bucket list 

1. S.E.A Aquarium

The world’s largest oceanarium on Sentosa is a living museum of underwater habitats and includes a massive 18.2-million-litre open-ocean habitat that’s home to 50,000 fish Certified divers can get a piece of the action by diving in the aquarium and there’s also a shark encounter opportunity. After all that excitement, have lunch or dinner at Ocean Restaurant. rwsentosa.com

Remind you of a lotus flower? That's the idea 

2. ArtScience Museum

This unique national monument was inspired by the lotus flower, and each of the ten petals – or fingers – is a gallery space, the tallest of which stands 60 metres high. Recent exhibitions have included Lego: The Art of The Brick and Mummy: Secrets of the Tomb. The ArtScience Museum sits in front of The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, near the Double Helix Bridge. Closest MRT stations: Promenade and Marina Bay. marinabaysands.com/artsciencemuseum


3. Singapore Art Museum (SAM)

SAM houses the national art collection of Singapore and boasts the largest collection of 20th-century Southeast Asian art. Unfortunately, space limitations mean that only 200 of the 8,000 works can be exhibited at any one time, but this will change when the National Art Gallery opens in 2015. The fantastic Art Garden is an interactive contemporary exhibition for children, held annually. nhb.gov.sg/sam

Tip: Many expats enjoy collecting unique pieces of Asian art while they are here, and Singapore offers a wide range of galleries. A good place to find the most up-to-date gallery listings is www.singaporeart.org or the art gallery guide at www.sagg.com.sg .

Lose yourself in Singapore's biggest museum 

4. National Museum of Singapore

The biggest museum in Singapore is housed in a stunning 120-year-old neoclassical building on Stamford Road near Fort Canning Park. The museum’s attractions include the 2,800-square-metre Singapore History Gallery, and four creative “living” galleries delving into local culture, film, food and fashion. nationalmuseum.sg


5. Asian Civilisations Museum

Located across the river from Boat Quay and the Fullerton Hotel, the ACM boasts 11 galleries showcasing over 1,300 artefacts from China, Southeast Asia, South Asia and West Asia. The museum has an action-packed event schedule to suit all ages, cultures and tastes. acm.org.sg

Explore various aspects of Peranakan life 

6. Peranakan Museum

Peranakans are part Chinese, part Malay, and part descended from the original non-Malay inhabitants of Singapore. The Peranakan Museum, around the corner from the National Museum, houses ten permanent galleries that explore various aspects of Peranakan life, including the elaborate 12-day Peranakan wedding, the role of nonyas (Peranakan women), and food and feasting. peranakanmuseum.sg



Stamp collectors will love the Singapore Philatelic Museum, whose collection dates back to the Straits Settlements. MINT is the world’s first purpose-built museum for toys. Opened in May 2006, it exhibits a wide range of vintage toys including Tintin collectables, exclusive teddy bear collections and Astroboy figurines. Popular contemporary art galleries include REDSEA at Dempsey Hill, Ode To Art (Raffles City), 11.12 Gallery and Art Plural Gallery (Armenian Street) and Opera Gallery (ION Orchard).