The Asian Civilisations Museum
1 Empress Place / 39 Armenian Street
Visiting the Asian Civilisations Museum is the best way to learn about the rich and multilayered Asian culture and to get an idea about the many traditions of Singapore's multinational community.
The museum archives the unique historical and cultural heritage of Asian peoples and is situated on the bank of the Singapore River in the luxurious colonial Empress Place Building, which was built in 1860 and named after English Queen Victoria. Its large-scale exposition occupies an area of 14 thousand square meters and is divided in five parts: Singapore River, South-East Asia, Western Asia, China, and South Asia. Eleven themed galleries, situated across three tiers, feature around 1300 original artefacts, each of which reflects the Asian nations’ culture and traditions. There are national costumes and household items, musical instruments and jewelry belonging to the different peoples, each of which inhabited Asia at some point.
The Singapore Asian Civilisations Museum is notable not only for its unique and impressively large collection of treasures, but also for the skillful presentation of these items. The museum’s space is planned in a way that allows visitors to pay adequate attention to every single exhibit. The latest demonstrative and interactive technologies allow guests to maximise the intake of information regarding the artefacts that are installed in the museum’s galleries. For instance, it is possible to listen to the indigenous music of the country to which a certain hall is devoted.
In addition to this, the museum has souvenir shop and Asian restaurant, which offers culinary delicacies of the different regional styles.
The Asian Civilisations Museum has an equally interesting subsidiary, the Peranakan Museum, which is located in magnificent building of the former Tao Nan School in Armenian Street. Its exposition is devoted to the rich Peranakan heritage – the descendants of Chinese tradesmen who arrived on the Malay Peninsula during the 15th and 16th centuries. Extensive collections of the applied arts, furniture, as well as fine silver and chinaware are gathered here. The museum’s crowning glory is a monumental altar from the manor of one of the richest Peranakan families in Singapore. The Peranakan Museum’s exposition is also organized in an interactive way.