• 001 - the logo.jpg
  • 002 - Hiroshima sunset.jpg
  • 003 - Auschwitz-Birkenau ramp.jpg
  • 004 - Chernobyl contamination.jpg
  • 005 - Darvaza flaming gas crater.jpg
  • 006 - Berlin Wall madness.jpg
  • 007 - Bulgaria - monument at the bottom of Buzludzhy park hill.jpg
  • 008 - Ijen crater.jpg
  • 009 - Aralsk, Kazakhstan.jpg
  • 010 - Paris catacombs.jpg
  • 011 - Krakatoa.jpg
  • 012 - Ho Chi Minh mausoleum, Hanoi.jpg
  • 013 - Uyuni.jpg
  • 014 - DMZ Vietnam.jpg
  • 015 - Colditz Kopie.jpg
  • 016 - Glasgow Necropolis.jpg
  • 017 - Hashima ghost island.jpg
  • 018 - Kazakhstan.jpg
  • 019 - Arlington.jpg
  • 020 - Karosta prison.jpg
  • 021 - Kamikaze.jpg
  • 022 - Chacabuco ghost town.jpg
  • 023 - Eagle's Nest, Obersalzberg, Berchtesgaden.jpg
  • 024 - Kursk.jpg
  • 025 - Bran castle, Carpathia, Romania.jpg
  • 026 - Bestattungsmuseum Wien.jpg
  • 027 - Pripyat near Chernobyl.jpg
  • 028 - Sedlec ossuary, Czech Republic.jpg
  • 029 - Pyramida Lenin.jpg
  • 030 - Falklands.jpg
  • 031 - Majdanek.jpg
  • 032 - Soufriere volcano, Montserrat.jpg
  • 033 - moai on Easter Island.jpg
  • 034 - Sidoarjo.jpg
  • 035 - Hötensleben.jpg
  • 036 - Natzweiler.jpg
  • 037 - Polygon, Semipalatinsk test site, Kazakhstan.jpg
  • 038 - Srebrenica.jpg
  • 039 - Liepaja, Latvia.jpg
  • 040 - Vemork hydroelectric power plant building, Norway.jpg
  • 041 - Enola Gay.jpg
  • 042 - Pentagon 9-11 memorial.jpg
  • 043 - Robben Island prison, South Africa.jpg
  • 044 - Tollund man.jpg
  • 045 - Marienthal tunnel.jpg
  • 046 - Aso, Japan.jpg
  • 047 - Labrador battery Singapore.jpg
  • 048 - Artyom island, Absheron, Azerbaijan.jpg
  • 049 - Treblinka.jpg
  • 050 - Titan II silo.jpg
  • 051 - dosemetering doll, Chernobyl.jpg
  • 052 - Holocaust memorial, Berlin.jpg
  • 053 - Komodo dragon.jpg
  • 054 - cemeterio general, Santiago de Chile.jpg
  • 055 - Tuol Sleng, Phnom Phen, Cambodia.jpg
  • 056 - West Virginia penitentiary.jpg
  • 057 - ovens, Dachau.jpg
  • 058 - Derry, Northern Ireland.jpg
  • 059 - Bulgaria - Buzludzha - workers of all countries unite.jpg
  • 060 - Sachsenhausen.jpg
  • 061 - Tiraspol dom sovietov.jpg
  • 062 - modern-day Pompeii - Plymouth, Montserrat.jpg
  • 063 - Pico de Fogo.jpg
  • 064 - Trinity Day.jpg
  • 065 - Zwentendorf control room.jpg
  • 066 - Wolfschanze.jpg
  • 067 - Hiroshima by night.jpg
  • 068 - mass games, North Korea.jpg
  • 069 - Harrisburg.jpg
  • 070 - Nuremberg.jpg
  • 071 - Mostar.jpg
  • 072 - Tu-22, Riga aviation museum.jpg
  • 073 - Gallipoli, Lone Pine.jpg
  • 074 - Auschwitz-Birkenau - fence.jpg
  • 075 - Darvaza flaming gas crater.jpg
  • 076 - Atatürk Mausoleum, Ankara.jpg
  • 077 - Banda Aceh boats.jpg
  • 078 - AMARG.jpg
  • 079 - Chacabuco ruins.jpg
  • 080 - Bucharest.jpg
  • 081 - Bernauer Straße.jpg
  • 082 - Death Railway, Thailand.jpg
  • 083 - Mandor killing fields.jpg
  • 084 - Kozloduy.jpg
  • 085 - Jerusalem.jpg
  • 086 - Latin Bridge, Sarajevo.jpg
  • 087 - Panmunjom, DMZ, Korea.jpg
  • 088 - Ijen blue flames.jpg
  • 089 - Derry reconsilliation monument.jpg
  • 090 - Ebensee.jpg
  • 091 - Mödlareuth barbed wire.jpg
  • 092 - skull heaps in Sedlec ossuary, Czech Republic.jpg
  • 093 - Nikel.jpg
  • 094 - Fukushima-Daiichi NPP.jpg
  • 095 - Tital launch control centre.jpg
  • 096 - Dallas Dealy Plaza and Sixth Floor Museum.jpg
  • 097 - Auschwitz I.jpg
  • 098 - Stalin and Lenin, Tirana, Albania.jpg
  • 099 - Malta, Fort St Elmo.jpg
  • 100 - Peenemünde.jpg
  • 101 - Tarrafal.jpg
  • 102 - Kilmainham prison, Dublin.jpg
  • 103 - North Korea.jpg
  • 104 - Mittelbau-Dora.jpg
  • 105 - St Helena.jpg
  • 106 - Stutthof, Poland.jpg
  • 107 - Merapi destruction.jpg
  • 108 - Chueung Ek killing fields, Cambodia.jpg
  • 109 - Marienborn former GDR border.jpg
  • 110 - Mig and star, Kazakhstan.jpg
  • 111 - Nagasaki WWII tunnels.jpg
  • 112 - Hellfire Pass, Thailand.jpg
  • 113 - Kiev.jpg
  • 114 - Grutas Park, Lithuania.jpg
  • 115 - Zwentendorf reactor core.jpg
  • 116 - two occupations, Tallinn.jpg
  • 117 - Trunyan burial site.jpg
  • 118 - Ushuaia prison.jpg
  • 119 - Buchenwald.jpg
  • 120 - Marienthal with ghost.jpg
  • 121 - Murmansk harbour - with an aircraft carrier.jpg
  • 122 - Berlin Olympiastadion.JPG
  • 123 - Bastille Day, Paris.jpg
  • 124 - Spassk.jpg
  • 125 - Theresienstadt.jpg
  • 126 - B-52s.jpg
  • 127 - Bledug Kuwu.jpg
  • 128 - Friedhof der Namenlosen, Vienna.jpg
  • 129 - Auschwitz-Birkenau barracks.jpg
  • 130 - mummies, Bolivia.jpg
  • 131 - Barringer meteor crater.jpg
  • 132 - Murambi, Rwanda.jpg
  • 133 - NTS.jpg
  • 134 - Mauthausen Soviet monument.jpg
  • 135 - pullution, Kazakhstan.JPG
  • 136 - palm oil madness.jpg
  • 137 - Berlin socialist realism.jpg
  • 138 - Okawa school building ruin.jpg
  • 139 - Pawiak, Warsaw.jpg
  • 140 - flying death, military museum Dresden.JPG
  • 141 - KGB gear.JPG
  • 142 - KZ jacket.JPG
  • 143 - ex-USSR.JPG
  • 144 - Indonesia fruit bats.JPG
  • 145 - Alcatraz.JPG
  • 146 - Chernobyl Museum, Kiev, Ukraine.JPG
  • 147 - Halemaumau lava lake glow, Hawaii.JPG
  • 148 - Rosinenbomber at Tempelhof, Berlin.jpg
  • 149 - Verdun, France.JPG
  • 150 - hospital, Vukovar, Croatia.JPG
  • 151 - the original tomb of Napoleon, St Helena.JPG
  • 152 - Buchenwald, Germany.JPG
  • 153 - Bhopal.JPG
  • 154 - Groß-Rosen, Poland.jpg
  • 155 - at Monino, Russia.jpg
  • 156 - blinking Komodo.jpg
  • 157 - inside Chernobyl NPP.JPG
  • 158 - Mount St Helens, USA.JPG
  • 159 - Maly Trostenec, Minsk, Belarus.jpg
  • 160 - Vucedol skulls, Croatia.JPG
  • 161 - colourful WW1 shells.JPG
  • 162 - Zeljava airbase in Croatia.JPG
  • 163 - rusting wrecks, Chernobyl.JPG
  • 164 - San Bernadine alle Ossa, Milan, Italy.jpg
  • 165 - USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.JPG
  • 166 - Brest Fortress, Belarus.JPG
  • 167 - thousands of bats, Dom Rep.JPG
  • 168 - Hohenschönhausen, Berlin.JPG
  • 169 - Perm-36 gulag site.JPG
  • 170 - Jasenovac, Croatia.JPG
  • 171 - Beelitz Heilstätten.JPG
  • 172 - Kremlin, Moscow.jpg
  • 173 - old arms factory, Dubnica.JPG
  • 174 - Pervomaisc ICBM base, more  missiles, including an SS-18 Satan.jpg
  • 175 - Cellular Jail, Port Blair.jpg
  • 177 - control room, Chernobyl NPP.JPG
  • 178 - Podgorica, Montenegro, small arms and light weapons sculpture.jpg
  • 179 - Vught.jpg
  • 180 - Japanese cave East Timor.jpg
  • 181 - Ani.jpg
  • 182 - Indonesia wildfire.jpg
  • 183 - Chacabuco big sky.jpg
  • 184 - Bunker Valentin, Germany.JPG
  • 185 - Lest we Forget, Ypres.JPG
  • 186 - the logo again.jpg

Singapore National Museum

  
   - darkometer rating: 3 -
  
The oldest and possibly most significant museum in Singapore, housed in a centrally located landmark colonial building, plus in a modern annex, with several thematic subsections of which the History Gallery is the one of most interest to dark tourists.  
More background info: For general historical background see under Singapore.
  
The museum originally dates back to the year 1849 when it first started in a section of a library at the Singapore Institution under the name Raffles Library and Museum. It moved several times and eventually ended up in its present location in 1887. It was named the National Museum of Singapore in 1965. For a period of time from 1993 it was renamed Singapore History Museum, but reverted back to the more general name in 2006.
  
Also in 2006 a major refurbishing and expansion programme was completed and the revamped museum opened in December, with a new modern annex twice the size of the old colonial-era building with its iconic dome.
   
More changes have been made to the interior since. I went to visit the museum in 2014, but the floor-plan leaflet I picked up then, in several parts no longer matches the information given on the museum's website.
   
The historical part described below seems to be in place still, but a lot has been changed in the other galleries. And more changes may well be coming. At the moment (as of October 2017), four “Life in Singapore” galleries supplement the main exhibition, and one of them is also on the dark WWII theme “surviving Syonan” (the latter is the name Japan imposed on Singapore during the occupation).
   
Moreover a temporary exhibition “Witness to War: Remembering 1942” has been added to mark the 75th anniversary of the fall of Singapore. It's accompanied by special programmes as well. All of this is running until March 2018. What will come after that, remains to be seen.
   
   
What there is to see: The core part of the museum is the large Singapore History Gallery. This contains the main aspects that are of interest from a dark-tourism perspective. So the following text will focus on those.
   
The history exhibition is accessed from the glass atrium of the modern annex. When I visited it, the entry was through the glass rotunda where a wild video 360-degree projection pulled you into the urban cityscape and culture of Singapore. It was quite an onslaught on the senses but I found it quite mesmerizing. However, when I last checked the museum's website it seemed that this has been replaced by a different projection (called “Story of the Forest”) and that access to the history section is no longer via the rotunda.
   
The Singapore History Gallery is organized primarily in a chronological fashion. Early history is followed by a focus on the colonial period, with furniture and all manner of other bits and pieces from that era on display. There are also some general large art installations such as a weird cluster of old bicycles.
   
It gets interesting from a dark point of view in the WWII part. On display are various propaganda posters from the time, rusty machine gun parts, flags, photos and drawings and so on, all illustrating the fall of Singapore and the occupation by Imperial Japan, when the city was renamed Syonan.
   
A special subsection is about POWs and especially Changi prison. On display here are an old original cell door from the prison, letters and drawings by prisoners and some personal items such as pipes or wallets.
   
A glass display case contains personal items found in some archaeological dig projects near Changi and include bracelets, earrings, watches, hairpins, etc. – and the museum raises the question whether these can be seen as indication that the Sook Ching massacres (see under Singapore) may also have included women amongst the victims (officially only ethnic Chinese men were targeted).
   
Moving into the post-WWII phase, there are still various quite dark aspects, such as the race riots and strikes (see again under Singapore in general), and various items from the police force's riot squad are on display.
   
In addition to static displays there are also plenty of audiovisual elements, including a whole ensemble of screens attached to metal bars showing period film footage.
   
The rest of the History Gallery illustrates Singapore's move into the modern age. This part is mostly celebratory, but I must say I found some of the footage of stadium performances of amassed dancers/gymnasts rather chillingly reminiscent of the Mass Games in North Korea.
   
The rest of the museum didn't really have any particular dark things to offer (though that's changed later – see above), but I enjoyed the photo gallery with some excellent shots of modern Singaporean architecture. But I think this exhibition is no longer in place.
   
All in all: the museum is certainly worth a visit. It's very modern, very visual, very immersing. From the dark angle, only part of it is relevant, but you can always be selective. The building as such, with its impressive dome, and the modern artwork outside is noteworthy too.
  
  
Location: right in the centre of Singapore, on the north-eastern hillside of Fort Canning Park and just a short distance south-east of the lower end of Orchard Road. The address is: 93, Stamford Road, Singapore 178897.
   
Google maps locator: [1.2964, 103.8484]
  
  
Access and costs: easy to get to, free for locals, but a bit pricey for foreign tourists.
  
Details: The museum is easy to find. In fact there are two ways of getting there. One is from the back, namely from the north-eastern side of Fort Canning Hill (see under Singapore). The regular main entrance, on the other hand, is at the top of Stamford Road, reached by a short walk from the City Hall MRT station (green east-west line EW13/red north-south line NS25), from the bottom end of Orchard Road and Dhoby Ghaut MRT station (yellow circle line CC1) or from Bras Basah (CC2) one block east of Stamford Road at the Art Museum.
  
Admission to the museum: S$15 for foreign tourists (a few concessions apply), but free for Singaporeans and foreign permanent residents.
  
Opening times: daily 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., last admission at 6:15.
  
  
Time required: Between one and two hours, or even longer if you want to go through the sections beyond the history part.
 
  
Combinations with other dark destinations: Fort Canning and the “Battle Box” (see under Singapore) make the most natural combination, for sheer proximity alone, the latter is a mere 300 yards from the museum's Canning Entrance at Level 3. From the front entrance, the Civilian War Memorial in the park at the bottom end of Stamford Road is the nearest sight with a dark connection.
   
The best other museum about Singapore in WWII is at the Former Ford Factory in the north-west of Singapore's main island, but that's quite a distance away, likewise the Changi Museum & Chapel.
  
For more see under Singapore in general.
  
  
Combinations with non-dark destinations: See Singapore.
   
The museum itself has its non-dark elements, and given its central location is also very close to many of Singapore's main tourist attractions such as St Andrew's cathedral or the Raffles Hotel. The going-out area of Clarke Quay is pretty close too, as is Singapore's main shopping street Orchard Road.
  
  
   
  • National Museum 01 - outsideNational Museum 01 - outside
  • National Museum 02 - insideNational Museum 02 - inside
  • National Museum 03 - animated introNational Museum 03 - animated intro
  • National Museum 04 - olden daysNational Museum 04 - olden days
  • National Museum 05 - bicycle clusterNational Museum 05 - bicycle cluster
  • National Museum 06 - Japanese flagNational Museum 06 - Japanese flag
  • National Museum 07 - battleNational Museum 07 - battle
  • National Museum 08 - Changi prisonNational Museum 08 - Changi prison
  • National Museum 09 - Changi prison doorNational Museum 09 - Changi prison door
  • National Museum 10 - personal itemsNational Museum 10 - personal items
  • National Museum 11 - shirt and knivesNational Museum 11 - shirt and knives
  • National Museum 12 - hardshipNational Museum 12 - hardship
  • National Museum 13 - very visualNational Museum 13 - very visual
  • National Museum 14 - into modernityNational Museum 14 - into modernity
  • National Museum 15 - central domeNational Museum 15 - central dome
  • National Museum 16 - big chilli sculpture outsideNational Museum 16 - big chilli sculpture outside
  • Singapore 08 - in Fort Canning ParkSingapore 08 - in Fort Canning Park
  
  
  
  
  
  
 

 

 

 

© dark-tourism.com, Peter Hohenhaus 2010-2019

Cookies make it easier for us to provide you with our services. With the usage of our services you permit us to use cookies.
More information Ok