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16 Hidden Local Museums in Singapore for an Out-Of-The-Ordinary Experience

16 Hidden Local Museums in Singapore for an Out-Of-The-Ordinary Experience

Every country has its set of traditional museums that appear on the usual travel guide lists. But perhaps it’s not your first rodeo in Singapore and you’re searching for a local museum experience that also adds a bit of magic, or at least, is unique in what it has to offer. 

Ever played on the original Super Nintendo or seen hospital tools they used back before modern medicine (warning!)? Check out these hidden museums around the city for a different trip to the museum.

1. Ever wondered what it was like when cinemas first opened? : The Cathay Gallery

Calling all film freaks and fanatics! Did you know that hidden away on the second level of The Cathay is a secret film museum?! 

Photos: The Cathay Gallery and @chrothan on Instagram

If you love old movies, check out the walls filled with old-school film posters, vintage projectors and cameras, antique cinema chairs and a whole bunch of movie memorabilia to take you down memory lane!

The Cathay Gallery

Price: Free!
Address: #02-16, 2 Handy Rd, Singapore 229233 (Map)
Contact: +6563378181
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday from 2pm to 6pm, Saturdays from 12pm to 6pm (Closed Sundays and Public Holidays)

2. Singapore’s first museum entirely dedicated to the analogue camera era: Vintage Camera’s Museum

Photography your passion or favourite pastime? You’ll find yourself drooling over the somewhat 1000 vintage cameras displayed in cases across shelves, from old-school spy cameras to pistol cams. 

Photos: @mayho.sg, @victoriainstadiary, @prisha_khimavat on Instagram

And you can’t miss this spot that’s for sure – the building itself is shaped like a camera (a Rollei to be exact), which just happens to be as we put it these days “totally insta-worthy”.

Vintage Camera’s Museum

Price: SGD 20
Address: 8C & 8D Jalan kledek Singapore, Singapore 199263  (Map)
Contact: +65 8591 8918
Opening Hours: Daily from 10:30am to 7:30pm

3. Ever seen the original Xbox?: JCU Museum of Video and Computer Games

We know this one will perk the interests of many – both young and old…If you’re a tech genius or are hooked on your games, check out this (epic) museum and indulge yourself in the history of Video and Computer Games in SEA. 

Not just that, there are the original consoles housed here, which you can play, including the very-first Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Xbox as well as tons of rare games and vintage consoles.

JCU Museum of Video and Computer Games

Price: Free
Address: 149 Sims Dr, Singapore 387380 (Map)
Contact: +65 6593 6626
Opening Hours: Visits by appointment only

4. Bring your little Beethoven or your musical love: Singapore Musical Box Museum

Whether you play the piano, are studying music or simply can’t leave the house without music playing in your ears, you’ve got to check out this museum which showcases antique musical boxes and various related items to the industry. 

Photos: @mojopy, @susan.yoe, @peggy17688 on Instagram

Guided tours are compulsory here, which works out in your favour, and learn about the history of musical boxes from your expert!

Singapore Musical Box Museum

Price: SGD 12 (Adults), Kids are free
Address: 168 Telok Ayer Street Singapore 068619 (Map)
Contact: +65 6221 0102
Opening Hours: Mon, Wed & Saturdays from 10am to 5pm (Last admission at 4pm) (Closed Tuesday & Sundays)

5. Original underground Command Centre 9 metres below!: The Battlebox

WWII fans and history-boffs…This space in fact dates back to 1935 during the times of WWII and just that is historical in itself. 

Photos: The Battle Box, @keniishi, @benjamintai808 on Instagram

Originally this is the spot where the British surrendered Singapore to Japan in 1942, but today it’s home to a restored museum filled with a maze of rooms containing artefacts, wartime recreations and even shows.

The Battlebox

Price: SGD 20 (Adult), SGD 10 (Kids)
Address: 2 Cox Terrace, Singapore 179622 (Map)
Contact: +65 6338 6133
Opening Hours: Friday to Sunday from 9.30am to 5.30pm (Last tour slot at 4.30) (Closed Monday to Thursday)

6. Educate yourself on these tiny insects: The Singapore Ant Museum

Hey, believe it or not, some people love the exploration of insects, and ants are super fascinating creatures after all! 

Photos: @natschooling, @brendonang21, @zemily.jieru, @tanjekswan on Instagram

Plus, it’s not often you see someone paying ode to ants, and this two-storey museum is solely dedicated to the little critters. It’s filled with interactive displays and exhibitions of over 50 different native species, as well as ant farms to check-out!

The Singapore Ant Museum

Price: SGD 15
Address: 359 Upper Paya Lebar Rd, Singapore 534961 (Map)
Contact: +65 87796857
Opening Hours: Saturday, Sundays and Public Holidays (Closed Mondays to Fridays)

7. The original building was constructed in 1926 : Former Ford Factory

What was once South East Asia’s first-ever Ford motorcar plant can now be visited today and marks an important part of history. 

But it’s not just the name that gives this building its credits…In WWII, the factory was turned into a facility grounds for fighter planes and military vehicles and today the museum contains a WWII exhibition that takes a look back at this time.

Former Ford Factory

Price: Free for Singapore citizens, SGD 3 for foreign visitors
Address: 351 Upper Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 588192 (Map)
Contact: +6564626724
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 9am to 5:30pm (Closed Sundays)

8. Private gallery tours to learn about Peranakan Chinese Culture: Katong Antique House 

After the owner and curator, Peter Wee spent decades collecting antique items and collectables that are pivotal to the Peranakan Chinese culture, he decided to share his world with the public. 

Photos: @winfredoh, @novreica, @moniq_vip, @gracetjx on Instagram

Authenticity at its finest, Wee inherited the 100-year old shophouse from his mom, turning this into a scene to represent a typical Peranakan Chinese household back in the day, now also home to all of his incredible, unique antiques and items.

Katong Antique House

Price: SGD 15
Address: 208 E Coast Rd, Singapore 428907 (Map)
Contact: +65 6345 8544
Opening Hours: Daily from 11am to 4:30 (Booking appointments required)

9. All the nostalgic feels in an international award-winning contemporary building: Mint Museum of Toys

Listen, it’s not only the kids who might go a bit wild when they get a hold of this insane museum that houses bunches of vintage toys and collectable items, and you’ll feel you’re inner-child come out immediately. 

The walls are lined with retro posters, and all your favourite toys and beloved characters from the past line the shelves and glass cabinets. From the Flinstones to vintage aeroplane models, the entire family will have a field day here!

Mint Museum of Toys

Price: SGD 20 (Adults), 10 (Kids)
Address: 26 Seah St, Singapore 188382 (Map)
Contact: +65 6339 0660
Opening Hours: Daily from 9:30am to 6:30pm (Last admission at 6pm)

10. From Olympic medals to celebrity sports memorabilia: Singapore Sports Museum

Serious about sports? It’s not often you get the opportunity to check out famous sports artefacts, let alone 800 of them all in one room! 

Photos: @rita_lfc_08, @chuance, @sgrediscovered, @aymannaris04 on Instagram

If you’re keen to learn about the history and heritage of sports in Singapore head to this museum with a few different galleries that showcases just that. PLUS this museum contains some pretty famous items such as Adidas official match balls from the FIFA World Cup.

Singapore Sports Museum

Price: Free for local residents
Address: 6 Stadium Walk, Singapore 397698 (Map)
Contact: +65 6653 8900
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday from 10am to 8pm, Saturday & Sundays from 10am to 9pm

11. Guinness World Record for the largest collection of turtles and tortoises: The Live Turtle and Tortoise Museum

We love an institute with a good cause, and this turtle sanctuary and museum are only doing good things for the aquatic world. 

Photos: @ vvicolee, @heyytherehotshot, @jadeseah on Instagram

Home to around 700 different types of turtles and tortoises including a bunch of rare kinds (Alligator turtle or the Pig Nose Flying Turtle),  we love that the reptiles are allowed to wander around freely in a large open space. Learn about the animals and get the chance to feed them too, but please don’t pick them up! <3

The Live Turtle and Tortoise Museum

Price: SGD 14
Address: ORTO, 81 Lor Chencharu #01-16, Singapore 769198 (Map)
Opening Hours: Wednesday to Monday from 10am to 6pm (Last entry at 5:40pm) (Closed Tuesdays)

12. Learn about the development of Chinese Opera in the country: Singapore Chinese Opera Museum

There are tons of places that celebrate the different diverse cultures, and traditional activities, found around the city of Singapore, but you can’t say there are many that solely focus on the celebration of Chinese Opera. 

Photos by Singapore Chinese Opera Museum

Look back over 100 years through this museum’s exhibition, including historical facts and photos of past Chinese Opera troupes, beautifully embellished costumes and beautiful hand-crafted artworks displaying the singers in action all those years ago.

Singapore Chinese Opera Museum

Price: Free
Address: 100 Sultan Plaza #01-27, Singapore 199001 (Map)
Contact: +6562923393
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday from 11am to 6pm (Closed Saturday & Sundays) (Reservation required)

13. Come meet the real-life dinosaurs Prince, Twinky and Apollonia: Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Always dreamt of what it must have been like to see a real-live/life dinosaur all those thousands of years ago??? Or maybe you’ve got a budding palaeontologist on your hands? 

Photos: @anmspty, @nparkbuzz, @mimimi_7711 on Instagram

What is actually South East Asia’s first-ever Natural History Museum now also hosts three real dinosaur skeletons that were discovered between 2007 and 2010 in a tiny town in the USA called Ten Sleep, Wyoming. 

Apart from the dinos, there are many levels here that exhibit a plethora of other incredible facets of our Natural World.

Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Price: From SGD 15 for local and permanent resident adults, SGD 20 for non-resident adults, SGD 8 local and permanent resident children, SGD 12 for non-resident children
Address: 2 Conservatory Dr, Singapore 117377 (Map)
Contact: +6566013333
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm (Closed Tuesdays)

14. For a look back into Singapore’s traditions: The Intan

Book a tour at this authentic, private shophouse run by curator Alvin Yapp and although the entire setup is a museum in itself, this is also Mr Yapp’s personal home and living space. 

Photos: @tangenghui and @dikshitmundra on Instagram

Revelling in all things Peranakan, take a glimpse into the past through the colourful artefacts up the stairways and around rooms, the beautifully embroidered handicrafts, and antique furniture. And it’s not just a tour, but you also get to experience traditional foods with either tea, lunch or dinner – depending on what time of day you’re visiting. 

The Intan

Price: From SGD 60
Address: 69 Joo Chiat Terrace, Singapore 427231 (Map)
Contact: +65 6440 1148
Opening Hours: By appointment ONLY

15. Not for the faint-hearted: Singapore General Hospital Museum 

We’re not gonna lie, this may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for those with a strong stomach, and that enjoy a bit of gore every now and then and all things creepy, you’re gonna wanna visit this hospital museum. 

Photos: Singapore General Hospital and @wangjiunjiun on Instagram

Check out old-fashioned equipment, some of it really horrific, such as an amputating saw used for chopping off gangrenous limbs in the early 1900s.

Singapore General Hospital Museum

Price: Free
Address: Bowyer Block Clock Tower, Singapore General Hospital, Outram Road (Map)
Contact: +65 326 5294
Opening Hours: By appointment only

16. An interactive heritage gallery: Kreta Ayer Heritage Gallery

A pretty new contender on the block, this spot only opened up in 2019 but it jubilates in all things from the past, specifically the Kreta Ayer and Chinatown areas in the city. 

Photos: @mister_crumbs and @tangenghui on Instagram

Fun fact: This area was known for Chinese opera, puppetry, painting, calligraphy and of course, tea-drinking, and you can learn all about its rich history here, as well as check out various displays that explain this in visual form.

Kreta Ayer Heritage Gallery

Price: Free
Address: 28 Kreta Ayer Rd, Singapore 088995 (Map)

Pretty interesting right? As humans we naturally love to learn and discover and what better way, and for all ages! 

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I live to travel and I travel to live. I'm a travelling Gypsy with a passion for the English word, being inspired daily by the different cultures and colours, scents and scenic overloads, sensory explosions, and mind-awakening experiences. The ones that take your breath away. Walking along with the earth, one country at a time, it's what I live for; a life full of adventure, sharing my thoughts and experiences through literature.