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“Ancient kingdoms, forgotten gods, SE Asia in a nutshell.”

Asian Civilisations Museum
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US$ 486.28*
and up
Half-Day Private Group Singapore River Cruise
Ranked #44 of 894 things to do in Singapore
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: The Asian Civilisations Museum is devoted to exploring the rich artistic heritage of Asia, especially the ancestral cultures of Singaporeans. Founded in 1993 and in its present building by the Singapore River since 2003, the museum traces its roots to the Raffles Museum, founded in the middle of the 19th century. ACM focuses on the many historical connections between the cultures of Asia, and between Asia and the world. Singapore’s history as a port city that brought people together from all over the world is used as a means of examining the history of Asia. Special exhibitions bring magnificent objects from around the world to our Singapore audience. Programmes like the annual River Nights encourage visitors to connect more closely with culture and the arts.
Useful Information: Lockers / storage, Stairs / lift, Activities for older children, Food available for purchase, Wheelchair access, Bathroom facilities
Reviewed 8 October 2012

Many world museums with Asian exhibitions usually feature boring pottery & Chinese tea cups, I’m pretty sure the kids want to see precious gold, jewels, swords & statues of gods & super beings, all the stuff that captures the imagination. The Asian Civilisation Museum is full of this stuff with a special emphasis on the SE Asian region & less about China & its teacups, making this museum unique with its specific collection, mostly donated from wealthy benefactors who either stole them or purchased them so cheaply from locals it is almost like stealing.

Some of the more impressive artefacts are a 2500 year old Dong Son bronze drum from Northern Vietnam, in almost perfect condition, it is intricately detailed created by a mysterious people who invented Bronze technology independently from Europeans. The Jewellery section has exotic pieces that could easily be worn to any Hollywood party today. Big kids might like the strange swords on display with jewel encrusted scabbards & handles typical of the sultans & Princes of Java. Another fascinating artefact is a genuine Islamic astrolabe, a contraption that guided traders thousands of kilometres across deserts & mountains from West Asia to the East via the stars, a beautiful piece of ancient technology accompanied by an interactive video to explain its workings. The museum has loads of statues of different religions & gods from around the SE Asian region making it a repository of religious icons, surely this place would make many suicide-bombers nervous, leave your vests at home.

One of the best features of the museum is the grand colonial building it occupies. Formerly the administrative heart of Singapore, within its tall walls it exudes an old world charm & atmosphere of the colony’s past grandeur from the polished floorboards to the grand columns, fitting for a place that displays the glorious past of some of the regions finest ancient artwork for future generations.

Entry for adults is $8, the museum also accepts foreign university cards for student concessions at half price. Friday 5 – 7pm is half price on all tickets. Its less than 5mins walk to the Raffles Place MRT station, just behind the Victoria Concert Hall bus stand on Fullerton road & across the bridge from the 5-star Fullerton hotel. There are free daily guided tours at different times each day. The daily 7pm close time is perfect as the museum is surrounded by the Boat Quay restaurant precinct.

2  Thank The_Pale_Ridah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"south east asia"
in 59 reviews
"special exhibit"
in 21 reviews
"se asia"
in 22 reviews
"singapore river"
in 75 reviews
"free guided tour"
in 18 reviews
"interesting exhibits"
in 28 reviews
"different cultures"
in 25 reviews
"on display"
in 64 reviews
"beautiful building"
in 25 reviews
"fullerton hotel"
in 34 reviews
"singapore history"
in 21 reviews
"free admission"
in 16 reviews
"worth a visit"
in 58 reviews
"couple of hours"
in 30 reviews
"few hours"
in 31 reviews
"entrance fee"
in 18 reviews
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1,299 - 1,303 of 1,940 reviews

Reviewed 4 October 2012

This was my second visit to the museum and I only spent an hour and a half in it, as opposed to the half day I did on my first visit, but it was still brilliant. Its located in a wonderful old colonial building and has a fantastic collection. Its a great way to quickly familiarise yourself with the region.
Being my second visit, what jumped out was the tremendous cultural contribution of the Indonesian islands to the Region. Its easy to believe that the Chinese and Indian influence is all pervasive. But Indonesia's different ethnic groups offer so much more depth. Unfortunately the collection stops at Maluku, presumably seeing the Papuan Melonesian tribes as being the scopre of the collection.
The collection of Muslim art is absolutely fantastic and probably its best attraction. I love the Arabian ambience that's available in one of the rooms.
When it gets too hot to walk around Singapore get yourseld down to this museum for half a day it won't disappoint.

1  Thank piphoshin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 October 2012

Whether it's for a special exhibition or just a day out to take a look at the permanent collections, a day to the ACM is always a treat. The colonial building that houses it is just lovely and the collections are expansive and gorgeous. Not to be missed if you are in Singapore.

Thank Dekakuri
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 October 2012 via mobile

Very good display of various artefacts and description of these. The guided tour can be annoying if a large group of people are led, especially if you go on your own as space between some exhibits is limited. A progression route would be useful for the self guided.

Thank HorstHH
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveller and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
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Reviewed 29 September 2012

I visited it on Friday evening coz it's half price. Not too many people at that time so I can enjoy it with myself. Exhibitions are very wonderful and worth you to spend 2 hours in it. But I was always thinking why there are no gallery of Japan and Korea? Strange...

1  Thank Annwang923
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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