Apr 12 2011
There’s no doubt the biggest and newest attractions are what draw tourists to Singapore, but it’s still surprising that the Malay Heritage Centre is closing for major renovations after only 7 years. The up-side to the closure is that the centre is having an Open House with free admission until April 30, 2011.
The Malay Heritage Centre is located in the Bugis area beside the majestic Sultan Mosque. The building is a landmark in this historically Muslim neighbourhood and is also known as the Istana Kampong Glam because it was once the palace of a Malay Sultan. Of course, Singapore hasn’t had a sultan since the 1800s and the building was restored and opened to the public in 2004 as a centre for Malay culture and heritage.
Currently the centre has a very traditional museum style with printed information, old photographs, and artefacts behind glass — perhaps the new and improved centre will be more interactive. Nonetheless, the centre and its leafy grounds are well worth a visit as you stroll around Kampong Glam.
The story of Singapore’s last Sultan is fascinating and there is detailed information and pictures of the royal family. Some of the murals depicting life in 19th century Singapore are very dramatic and there is a collection of Malay keris swords.
During the Open House the Malay Heritage Centre is open 13:00–18:00 on Monday and 10:00–18:00 Tuesday to Sunday. The staff are very knowledgeable and lead free guided tours around the centre every hour on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. If all goes according to schedule, the centre will reopen in June 2012.
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