Peranakan Museum

Peranakan Museum

Comprehensive and interesting

More on Downtown Singapore

A sister to the Asian Civilisations Museum, The Peranakan Museum is set in a gorgeous three-storey building on Armenian Street and is well deserving of an hour or two of your time. You’ll find it at the base of Fort Canning Park and just a short walk from the National Museum.

Travelfish says:

Dating back to 1912, the building that today houses the museum began life as the Tao Nan School, when it taught practical courses to students in Hokkien and later in Mandarin. It was occupied by the Japanese during World War II, then reverted to being a school. It was later converted into a museum. At first, it housed a permanent exhibition of the Asian Civilisations Museum, and then in 2005 it was closed and redeveloped to showcase Peranakan culture as the Peranakan Museum.

The Peranakan Museum: Worth a look without even going in.

The Peranakan Museum. It’s worth a look without even going in.

The museum comprises nine galleries across three floors. The first gallery is one of the most interesting, as it covers the identity of the Peranakan people. Peranakan means “child of” in Malay and it is used to describe people of mixed ethnic heritage. In Singapore’s case, Chinese Peranakans are in the majority but in other parts of Southeast Asia you’ll find Indian and Eurasian Peranakans, for example. The predominantly photographic display details the lives of Peranakan people in Singapore.

Who are the Peranakan people?

Who are the Peranakan people?

The next five galleries occupy all of the second floor and are dedicated solely to the extensive wedding rituals of Peranakan people. The displays are detailed and very well presented, with the bedrooms being especially noteworthy. The last floor is a catchall of everything: language and fashion (gallery 6), religion (gallery 7), public life (gallery 8) and food (gallery 9). If you’re limited for time, be sure to take a peek at the religion gallery, which includes ancestor worship and death rituals.

Now that is a bed.

Now that is a bed.

While you’re welcome just to wander the museum at your own pace, there are free one-hour tours in English on Monday to Friday at 11:00 and 14:00, Saturday 11:00 and 15:00 and on Sunday and public holidays at 11:00, 14:00 and 15:00.

The museum also offers semi-regular activities and special events. Check their website for details.

The closest SMRT stations are City Hall and Bras Basah. A visit to the Peranakan Museum fits in well with Fort Canning Park, the Armenian Church or the National Museum.

Contact details for Peranakan Museum

Address: 39 Armenian St
T: 6332 7591;
Coordinates (for GPS): 103º50'57.23" E, 1º17'39.28" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Admission: $6 Free for Singaporeans and PRs

Reviewed by

Stuart McDonald co-founded with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.

Tours in Singapore

These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.

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