Enter a world of wonder at the National Heritage Board’s new Children’s Museum Singapore (CMSG), the first museum in Singapore dedicated to children who are 12 years old and below.
From 10 December, children can take a voyage back in time to olden day Singapore, discover the wonders of nature, explore how local communities celebrate birthdays and more, when the museum opens its doors.
Guided by its tagline “Start with Wonder”, CMSG will function as a ‘starter museum’ to introduce young visitors and their families to the museum-going experience, sustain and nurture a sense of curiosity to explore, experiment and facilitate a conducive environment for learning through play.
Its curatorial approach is supported by educators and industry professionals, who gave inputs on the museum’s pedagogical strategies for the development
of life skills. CMSG will also work with interested researchers on the value of play for children, and will organise educational programmes in collaboration with educators throughout the year to cater to children of different age groups and abilities.
Mrs Wai Yin Pryke, Museum Director of CMSG, said: “Children’s Museum Singapore is uniquely positioned as Singapore’s first museum built for children. Our vision – “A place of wonder and joyful learning for all children to engage with Singapore and the world” – embodies our aspiration of becoming a museum that children can call their own, where they learn through play in a safe environment. We also envision our museum to be an inclusive space for children of different ages and abilities, planting the seed for all children to enjoy visiting museums to learn about our rich heritage and culture.”
Learning through play in an imaginative and creative space
By inviting children to get hands-on with interactives, stories and everyday objects, the museum is full of enriching opportunities to learn about Singapore’s heritage and culture, and spark discovery about themselves and the world around them. It features a permanent exhibition that spans four galleries on the ground floor and three special galleries on the second level that will be refreshed regularly. Each gallery is designed to stimulate the senses, evoke curiosity and motivate learning.
Permanent Gallery: A Voyage Back In Time
The journey unfolds with the introduction of WonderBot, CMSG’s mascot from the future who helps to ‘teleport’ visitors through different time periods in Singapore, and the adventurous sea-faring Captain, a virtual companion who will assign tasks for visitors through this experiential voyage through time.
As visitors make their way through the four galleries – Hidden Chamber, Ahoy Singapore!, The Marketplace and My Neighbourhood – they will be met with multimedia interactives, artefacts from the National Collection, and more to deepen their insight into Singapore’s early history as a port city, to become a modern-day metropolis.
Promising a unique museum experience like no other, CMSG invites children to get hands-on with the exhibits, as they set out to complete the Captain’s tasks such as tying a reef knot, or activating a water pump. Designed to evoke the senses, children will also catch a whiff of aromatic spices on board the Captain’s ship, or figure out what is causing the musty smell in the ship’s cargo hold.
Woven into the exhibits are also the stories of Singapore’s early migrants and settlers who persevered through difficulties and overcame hardships to build
Singapore, imparting to children the value of resilience and unity to forge a new nation.
The final gallery, which catapults visitors into a present-day setting, pays tribute to the Singapore Philatelic Museum with a recreation of a post office. Here, children are introduced to a modern neighbourhood with the post office taking centre stage.
They can enjoy displays of stamps, or even design their own and watch it come “alive” in a stamp parade!
As visitors make their way to the second level, they will continue their adventure into three special galleries – Imagine a Garden, featuring life-like paper sculptures of birds and flowers by Colombian artist Diana Beltrán Herrera; Happy Birthday!, which explores various cultural birthday practices in Singapore and values associated with familial love and gift-giving; and Play Pod, a safe space for toddlers ages two to four to learn more about fruits and vegetables through active play.
More details on the galleries:
Permanent and Special Galleries
The museum features a permanent exhibition that spans four galleries on the ground floor and three special galleries on the second level that will be refreshed every year. The overarching theme of the permanent exhibition is one of travel and exploration.
Woven into CMSG’s permanent exhibition are stories of Singapore’s early migrants and settlers who persevered through difficulties and overcame hardships to build Singapore.
The first gallery, Hidden Chamber, welcomes children with a short immersive theatre show. Objects from the Captain’s secret stash come alive as animation and share stories of where they come from.
In the second gallery, Ahoy Singapore!, visitors step into the Captain’s time-travelling ship laden with treasures. In the Captain’s cabin, visitors will be greeted by the aroma of spices from the region. Kids will be asked to complete tasks set out by the Captain.
There is a cargo hold where visitors get to experience how many migrant passengers and livestock would have been crammed in. To create an immersive and realistic experience, the area is designed to be dark and foul-smelling.
At the second half of the gallery, disembarking at a port in Singapore, young visitors get to role-play as coolies by moving cargo from ship to land. There will be a multimedia game, Clean the Dirty Singapore River for visitors to play.
The third gallery, The Marketplace, lets children explore bustling shophouses of the past including street barbers and traditional letter writers—trades that no longer exist.
Children get to hear stories by shopkeepers and can try a letter-writing game by tracing letters of different languages.
The final gallery, My Neighbourhood, brings visitors back to the present introducing children to a post office where children can design their own postal stamps and learn more about postal amenities in a neighbourhood setting.
On level 2, visitors continue their travel adventure to three special galleries. The first thematic gallery Imagine a Garden, presents amazing life-like paper sculptures of birds and flowers by Colombian artist Diana Beltrán Herrera in an exploratory, multisensorial maze.
Children can imagine themselves as a spotted wood owl on a hunt for its favourite prey in the multimedia game How Fast Can You Fly developed by Nanyang Polytechnic students, investigate natural specimens and put together their own magnetic flower mural.
The second gallery, Happy Birthday explores traditional birth practices of different cultures for a new-born, as well as teach values associated with familial love and gift-giving.
They can also listen to 90-year-old Grandma Sumitra’s memories of her birthday, hunt for ingredients to make different birthday foods in the multimedia game Help the Chef, plate their own yummy desserts for a birthday party and explore a wall of birthday photographs contributed by Singaporeans from different time periods.
Finally, the Play Pod is a safe space for toddlers ages 2–4 to play and learn. Based on the theme of fruits and vegetables, the shoes-off gallery has a roadside stall, a small garden bed and shed with toy gardening tools and vegetables, as well as a boat shaped like a calamansi fruit that children can clamber into.
Opening Weekend Birthday Bash
CMSG’s grand opening will kick off to the public with an Opening Weekend Birthday Bash. Families can look forward to being among the first to experience CMSG’s galleries, as well as an exciting line-up of dance, music and theatre performances throughout the day at the outdoor stage.
Visitors also have a chance to win attractive prizes through carnival activities and game booths. The full list of programmes for CMSG’s Birthday Bash can be
found on CMSG’s website: https://www.nhb.gov.sg/
With its focus on interactivity and hands-on experiences, museum-goers are required to book tickets at go.gov.sg/cmsg in order to secure general admission slots and carnival tickets for the Opening Weekend Birthday Bash.
* Opening Weekend Birthday Bash (10 & 11 December 2022): Entry is free for children aged 12 years and below, while accompanying adults must purchase a ticket
at $10 per adult.
* General admission: Free entry for all from 13 December 2022 onwards until 31 March 2023.
Opening Hours and Ticketing Information
Tuesday – Sunday (closed on Monday)
9am – 1pm
2pm – 6pm
(The museum is closed between 1pm – 2pm daily for cleaning)
*Admission to all galleries ends 30 minutes before closing time.
Free admission for all until 31 March 2023.
Visitors will be asked to choose a date and timeslot for their visit.
To ensure a comfortable visitor experience, advanced online ticket reservations are highly encouraged.
All entrance tickets include admission to the Permanent Galleries and the Special Galleries.
As part of the opening special, CMSG will also be presenting workshops on 17 and 18 December 2022 with some of its partners. These include specially curated craft sessions and activities that invite parent-child bonding. Registration will open from 9 December 2022.
More details on the workshops are available here: https://www.nhb.gov.sg/