Singapore Part V

Peranakan MuseumOriginally published in the Fenton Patch newspaper May 2012

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There are more than fifteen museums in Singapore. For a visitor with limited time six museums stand near the Mass Rapid Transportation (MRT) station called City Hall. My recommendation is to start by walking the five or six blocks to the National Museum of Singapore (NMS) then work your way back through the other museums.

NMS makes the history of Singapore come alive. The curators have accomplished their objective in a very artistic method that gives the visitor an informative leisurely stroll through the museum.

The Singapore Philatelic Museum is just a few blocks back toward the MRT.  Yes folks this is a stamp museum. The two story colonial building is far from a dingy place to look at a variety of postage pieces. My wife and I found our expectations well exceeded with colorful displays and expansive information. They have collections of stamps from around the world (even though they spelled the name of Colombia wrong several times in their display). But most impressive is the history of not just stamps and mailings, but of communication itself. Designed in bright colors and to keep the interest of children it also presented themes such as dragons on stamps as this is the year of the dragon. The gift shop offers many reasonably priced items associated with stamps and postcards. They feature a very large selection of reproductions of old postcards of Singapore.

From there a two block walk takes you to the Peranakan Museum. This is the only museum that my wife and I felt the need to visit a second time in order to absorb it all. Our senior citizen discount got us in for $5 each. To really understand Singapore and the culture that has evolved there you must visit this museum.

Next stop is the Singapore Art Museum better known as SAM. These people are always busy keeping modern art displays from Asia fresh. This time much of the art exhibited featured use of modern technology devices.

A few more blocks back to the MRT station and you come to a white building that takes up the entire block by itself. It is the historical and elegant Raffles Hotel. Royalty and the famous have stayed and partaken of its elegance since opening in 1887. The architecture is impressive and just a walk around enlightens. But in the central area away from the guest rooms it features a museum that transports you back in time with object and photos. Since the edifice still operates as a high end hotel the museum is free.

Across the street with an entrance partially hidden by a coffee shop is the Mint Museum of Toys.  Five floors of narrow rooms abound with old toys from around the world. The private collection is displayed in floor to ceiling glass cases. Baby Boomers will see many remembrances from their childhood. And if you are like me you may wonder why you destroyed and threw out that toy that now has an estimated value of $3,000 to $5,000. The museum does offer a senior citizen discount.

A major feature at the museum is the dolls from the Door of Hope. It was an organization started by five Western women to help rescue young ladies from Asia who had been put into human slavery. It ran from 1920 to 1930. They placed the girls in a safe place, taught them to read, write and sew. The girls made these dolls as part of their learning. The dolls were sold to help keep the mission open.

Now if you are one of those who like the latest and neatest digital gadgets, then as long as you are in the area stop at the Funan Digital Life Mall. Six floors and over 170 shops featuring cameras, computers and just cool things to have are all there. Not to mention often at a much lower price than in Michigan.

Remember the above is just a good starting place. There are still nine more exciting museums to see and enjoy in Singapore. We recommend that you find time to also visit the many unique sites and beautiful gardens.

Thank you for reading - Your comments are always welcome

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