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“Fantastic!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of National Museum of Singapore

National Museum of Singapore
Ranked #27 of 796 things to do in Singapore
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: With a history dating back to its inception in 1887, the National Museum of Singapore is the nation's oldest museum with a progressive mind. Its galleries adopt cutting-edge and multi-perspective ways of presenting history and culture to redefine conventional museum experience. A cultural and architectural landmark in Singapore, the Museum hosts innovative festivals and events all year round-the dynamic Night Festival, visually arresting art installations, as well as amazing performances and film screenings-in addition to presenting thought-provoking exhibitions involving critically important collections of artefacts. The programming is supported by a wide range of facilities and services including F&B, retail and a Resource Centre. The National Museum of Singapore re-opened in December 2006 after a three-year redevelopment, and celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2012. The Museum refreshed its permanent galleries and re-opened them on 19 September 2015 for Singapore's Golden Jubilee.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Level Contributor
784 reviews
337 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 355 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 1, 2012

One of the best museum's I have visited. Like many people, I knew very little about Singapore before visiting the country and this museum. I learned so much! It is also a beautiful museum worth the visit.

Visited April 2012
2 Thank Chr15t1n3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Level Contributor
37 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 1, 2012

this is such a young museum compared to other countries. nothing fantastic or fascinating to see, which singaporean doesnt know singapore's history anyway since it was always repeated and emphasized.

Visited June 2012
1 Thank LLJay1612
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
428 reviews
187 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 122 helpful votes
“Nice Musuem Experience”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 30, 2012

The national museum is the oldest museum in Singapore. This museum is not free entry, there are fee charges apply. There are permannent exhibition and some special exhibition. Fees may applied. I am lucky to go in only when it has promotion with free entry. the museum is big and enough for you to spent at least 2-4 hours walking through it. Singapore history, the people, culture, the life, you can find all the story here. if you are into the architectural of building, this museum may also attract you.

Visited September 2012
Thank AmethystAme
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
783 reviews
138 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 383 helpful votes
“most well-curated museum I've ever been to!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 29, 2012

I went to Singapore for a few days and made my way to the National Museum of Singapore to learn more about the country, since I pretty much had no knowledge of its history. I have to say, the building is absolutely beautiful, though its mostly empty because the main galleries are underground. I kind of walked around the empty spaces wondering where the "museum" part was until I found the main entrance, but once I was inside, I found the NMS the most well-curated museum I've ever been to...

You enter the main exhibit and galleries via a cylindrical building and go through a movie...which was the most unnecessary part of this whole experience, since it was just a gathering point. They give you (for free!) an audio guide connected to an iPad-like mobile device that has every artifact with a There was SO MUCH information, it was kind of overwhelming. Every different room was a new group of info (everything had audio), and then the artifacts in that room are listed at the bottom of the touchscreen if you want to find out more info about anything. All the time periods of Singapore are covered, and there is a lot of primary sources and pictures tracing the history.

One thing this museum did very well was understand that not everyone "likes history" and maybe some people are dragged here by someone else in his or her party. I say that because throughout the museum, there are two different "tracks" you can take -- events and personal stories. Some people love history, and some people don't care for it and would rather hear about personal stories and have history interpreted that way instead of just by dates and battles and conquests, etc; that was this attempts to mollify. I followed the events track, so I actually didn't see the "other" part of the museum based on the personal stories. I checked out one room just out of curiosity and it seemed like a completely different museum. (The one room I checked out talked about women's rights in Singapore, yet I didn't see that topic discussed at length in the events track, so it made me wonder what was not covered in the other track and vice versa?)

I see in other reviews here that the audio guide is slow and there's actually nothing to "read" on the walls since everything is in the audioguide. To that, I say that Singapore is a multi-cultural place with four predominant languages (English, Malaysia, Chinese, and Tamil), what exactly do people want, extended explanations in four languages under every single artifact and picture and portrait? That is untenable, which is why the handheld device is so invaluable and makes the experience much better. Imagine the crazy clutter everywhere if everything in the mobile device had to be printed and put on display? And the audioguide is great for visitors, because I saw one guide in Japanese, and that would not have been a language on any of the walls, but now those visitors can understand what the museum is showing them. Yes there is a lot of information and the guide is slow, but pretty much everyone around me rushed through the museum because they didn't want to go through the trouble of typing in the number "40" on a touchscreen (seriously?).

I compare this to other major museums that I have been to like the Louvre or the Uffizi and I'm struck by how much "better" this museum was than those. That is not to say the actual information or art is "better" here than at the Louvre (of course not), but moreso I mean how the experience here is so much more user-friendly and there aren't surly museum workers standing around in a perpetual state of being pissed off with having to deal with tourists. The price of entry is SGD$11, and I got in free with a student ID, and the audioguide is free for everyone -- and that stands in contrast to price-gouging at poorly-kept European museums where entry and audioguide are easily 25euros and there's not nearly as much information and ease-of-use as here.

Overall I would definitely recommend a visit to the National Museum of Singapore. There is enough information to spend all day, but after about 3-4 hours, it gets a bit daunting to learn so much. There is a cafe/restaurant at the museum, but Raffles City is close as is the Colonial Quarter, so there's plenty of places to eat around.

Visited September 2012
2 Thank jg325
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lincoln, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
53 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Museum treasures”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 29, 2012

An excellent insight into Singapore's history and it's place in SE Asia. You can learn so much about Singapore - it's Geography, people, culture(s) and History. A worthwhile activity.

Visited September 2012
1 Thank Frederick J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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