Did you know that Singapore has over 50 public and private museums and heritage galleries? So if you’ve had your fill of the large-scale exhibitions at The National Gallery, Asian Civilisation Museum and ArtScience Museum, take the road less travelled and look out for the hidden gems and quirky treasures in these lesser known spots:
#1 MINT Museum of Toys
Image source: MINT Museum of Toys Facebook
With over 50,000 vintage toys and collectibles, the MINT Museum of Toys is arguably the largest vintage toy museum in Asia. Get ready to relive some of your best childhood memories as you trawl the four zones titled “Outer Space”, “Characters”, “Childhood Favourites” and “Collectibles'' and explore the extensive collection of action fingers, first-edition comic books, pedal cars and more.
Look out for the Mekon mask from the 1950s British comic series Dan Dare—the only one in existence, a centuries old Steiff Teddy Bear, and even a doll owned by the girl that inspired the character of Alice, from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Where: 26 Seah Street
Opening hours: 9.30am to 6.30pm Tuesday to Sunday
#2 Straits Enclave
Image source: Straits Enclave Facebook
Stepping into Straits Enclave is like travelling back in time to visit a Peranakan Chinese home from the 1900s. The private museum offers a personable and intimate learning experience where you can admire Peranakan family heirlooms, find out the stories behind different heritage pieces, and even try on a kebaya for the gram. And for those keen, there are also beading and painting workshops available for you to create your own piece of Peranakan art!
Where: 318A Joo Chiat Road
By appointment only: Contact +6597897628 or book a workshop here.
#3 Singapore Musical Box Museum
Image source: Singapore Musical Box Museum
Did you know that back in the 19th and early 20th century, musical boxes were an important part of European culture? Or that Singapore played a big part in developing music boxes in Southeast Asia? These are just some of the fun facts covered at the Singapore Musical Box Museum, which houses an array of musical boxes from Switzerland, Germany and the United States!
Visit this museum to learn more about the history of musical boxes, how Singapore played a part in its development, and of course, to admire the intricate craftsmanship behind each antique musical box on display—most of which are still in working condition.
Where: 168 Telok Ayer Street
Opening hours: 11am to 5pm. Closed on Tuesdays, Thursdays & public holidays
By appointment only: Contact email@example.com.
#4 The Cathay Gallery
Image source: Cathay Organisation
The Cathay Gallery is one for the movie buffs! This gem of a location is home to a collection of vintage cameras, costumes worn by movie stars, antique film seats, and film posters of some of the most iconic films in history—including childhood favourites like The Jungle Book and The Sound of Music. Swing by to explore the treasure trove of old-school movie memorabilia, and to immerse yourself in memorable snippets of classic films from the 50s and 60s. Best of all? Admission is free!
Where: Level 2, The Cathay
Opening hours: Mon to Fri, 2pm to 6pm, Saturday, 12pm to 6pm