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National Museum of Singapore

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  1. National Museum of Singapore
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    Photograph: Vernon Raineil Cenzon on Unsplash
  3. national museum of singapore
    Photograph: David Kubovsky on Unsplash

Time Out says

Formerly known as the Singapore History Museum, the oldest museum in Singapore is now known as the National Museum of Singapore – after a $118 million refurbishment and branding. Its history dates back to 1849 when it opened on Stamford Road as the Raffles Library and Museum. It goes without saying, then, that The National Museum of Singapore is the best place to go to learn about the intriguing story of our nation. 

Your first stop should be the museum's permanent collections. Draw inspiration from the practice of belayar (voyage) in the Malay Archipelago during the 19th century at A Voyage of Love and Longing, which invites visitors to re-trace the complex emotions at its different points, from departure to return, through the William Farquhar Collection of Natural History Drawings. The Singapore History Gallery shouldn't be missed by all history buffs. The gallery traces the history of Singapore from its beginnings in the 14th century to the present day.

Fan of teamLab should head to the Glass Rotunda to experience Story of the Forest, an immersive installation that transforms 69 drawings from the William Farquhar Collection of Natural History Drawings into three-dimensional animations. Framed by the natural foliage of Fort Canning, the Glass Rotunda stands as a modern architectural response to our museum’s 19th-century neo-Palladian Rotunda, which has existed since the institution’s opening in 1887.

The main gallery is jam-packed with objects and film footage, accompanied by no less than seven hours of audio narrative, explanations, dramatisations and soundscapes. National Museum of Singapore is also the backdrop of a dynamic range of events throughout the year – from Doraemon's Time-Travelling Adventures in Singapore and festivals such as the Singapore Night Festival to performances and film screenings. This is in addition to presenting exhibitions involving historically and culturally important collections of artefacts.

There is also something for everyone of all ages at the local museum. Drop by the newly opened space Reunion, a social space for seniors with integrated activities to encourage meaningful interactions and promote cognitive engagement.

The museum's architecture is one to behold, too – making the perfect backdrop for your pictures or videos. Its facade boasts neo-classical features contrasted by new modernist extensions of glass and metal. 


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What’s on

Plastic: Remaking Our World

Recycling plastic goes beyond putting plastic waste into a blue bin, and here’s our chance to learn more – the National Museum of Singapore’s latest exhibition Plastic: Remaking Our World happening during the first half of the year will teach us about plastics, as well as creative ways to recycle them. There will be over 300 items on display, including posters, films, and photographs narrating Singapore's history with plastic. The exhibition is categorised into three parts. First, catch a film at Kalpa by Asif Khan Studio showing the contrast between the formation of oil versus the buildup of plastic waste. Then, explore global design trends and how plastic has become a big deal from the 1850s till now at Synthetica, Petromodernity, and Plasticene: Plastics from 1850 until Today. Photograph: National Museum of SingaporeSorting Zone and Injection Machine Lastly, the Re-: section explores how we can create a more circular loop when it comes to plastic recycling, aiming to spark conversations around ways to use plastic in a smarter way. And it's not just all talk; there's a sorting zone where visitors can learn about the various types of plastic, alongside an injection machine that transforms plastic into practical household items. Don’t forget to head outside to Plastics in Our Lives, an interactive space modelled after one’s home to shine the light on how much plastic is part of our daily lives. Visitors can also partake in the Green Detective’s Challenge, an on-site gamifi

Story of the Forest

From the same people behind Future World, this art installation brings to life sixty-nine works from the William Farquhar Collection of National History Drawings within the museum’s Glass Rotunda. Look forward to roving animals, digital flora and seasonal weather in an expansive forest created by Japanese digital art collective teamLab, which seamlessly unfolds into a a virtual and visual landscape, immersing visitors in the story of Singapore's journey from its colonial past to its present-day modernity.

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