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Asian Civilisations Museum

Coordinates: 1°17′15″N 103°51′05″E / 1.28750°N 103.85139°E / 1.28750; 103.85139
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Asian Civilisations Museum
Muzium Tamadun Asia
ஆசிய நாகரீகங்களின் அருங்காட்சியகம்
Established22 April 1997; 27 years ago (1997-04-22)
Location1 Empress Place
Coordinates1°17′15″N 103°51′05″E / 1.28750°N 103.85139°E / 1.28750; 103.85139
TypeSoutheast Asian, South Asian, West Asian and East Asian Heritage
Public transit access EW14  NS26  Raffles Place
 EW13  NS25  City Hall
 CC3  Esplanade
WebsiteAsian Civilisations Museum

The Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) is an institution which forms a part of the four museums in Singapore, the other three being the Peranakan Museum, the National Museum of Singapore and the Singapore Art Museum.

It is one of the pioneering museums in the region to specialise in pan-Asian cultures and civilisations. The museum specialises in the material history of China, Southeast Asia, South Asia and West Asia, from which the diverse ethnic groups of Singapore trace their ancestry.



The museum first opened at the Old Tao Nan School building on 22 April 1997[1] at Armenian Street, with exhibits largely centred on Chinese civilisation. With the restoration of the Empress Place Building, the museum established its new flagship museum there on 2 March 2003, rapidly expanding the collection to other areas of Asia. The Armenian Street branch closed for renovations on 1 January 2006 and reopened on 25 April 2008 as the Peranakan Museum, specialising in Peranakan culture.

On 16 September 2006, the Museum officially launched its new logo with a new slogan The Asian Civilisations Museum – Where Asian Cultures Come Alive!. The logo shows the museum's location by the Singapore River. The reflected image highlights the Museum as a place for reflection while the orange represents activity and energy.[2]

In late 2013, after undergoing a rebranding exercise, the Museum launched its new logo with a new slogan Singapore's Museum of Asia.[3]

On 16 September 2014, the Museum was named the top museum in Singapore and ranked ninth in Asia by TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice awards. The Museum was the only Singapore museum ranked among Asia's top 10 museums.[4]

On 15 November 2015, the Museum unveiled its new spaces after it started its revamp in 2014. The revamp is carried out in phases: Phase 1 was unveiled on 14 November 2015. Phase 2 was completed in April 2016, with further enhancements to follow.[5]

On 1 September 2016, Kennie Ting took over the position of director of the Museum.[6]

Asian Civilisations Museum, Empress Place

Collection highlights

Head of a Bodhisattva, Gandhara, ca. 4th century
Asian Civilisations Museum Tang Shipwreck ceramic plates.
Ceramic plates recovered from the Tang Shipwreck.
19th Century Ancestor Figure from Nias Island.
19th Century Ancestor Figure from Nias Island.

The Chinese collection is represented by fine Dehua porcelain figures, Taoist and Buddhistic statuary, export porcelain, calligraphy and other examples of decorative art.

The South Asian Galleries feature statuary from a range of periods, including Chola bronzes such as a sculpture of Uma, the consort of Shiva and of Somaskanda.[7] The early Buddhist art of India is also represented by works hailing from the Mathura and Gandhara schools, including a rare sandstone Mathura Buddha dating to the Kanishka era,[8] and the head of a Gandharan Bodhisattva.[9] Other areas of note include South Indian woodwork, Nepali-Tibetan bronzes, textiles, late medieval miniatures and colonial prints.

The Southeast Asian collections are broad in scope and are rich in ethnological material. Representing the aristocratic art of ancient Southeast Asia are Khmer sculptures, Javanese temple sculpture (some on loan from Leiden), later Buddhist art from Burma/Thailand and the Sinicised temple art of Vietnam. Peranakan gold, textiles, tribal ornament and theatrical masks are other strengths of the collection.

The Khoo Teck Puat Gallery is the permanent home for the cargo recovered from the Tang Shipwreck, a sunken 9th century trading ship bound for Iran and Iraq, discovered in 1998 off Belitung Island in the Java Sea. The recovered cargo comprises more than 60,000 well-preserved ceramics produced in China during the Tang dynasty (618–907), as well as objects of gold and silver.

Certain gallery rooms are also used for temporary exhibitions. A recent exhibition included the display of Bronze Age masks from Sanxingdui, Sichuan Province, China.

On June 25, 2021, the museum launched an exhibition titled #SGFASHIONNOW. The exhibition, which is a collaboration between Lasalle College of the Arts’ School of Fashion and the Textile and Fashion Federation (TaFF), is the first by the museum to showcase contemporary Singapore fashion. [10]

Eastern Wei Buddhist stele



The museum has a restaurant, Empress, featuring traditional Chinese dishes in a contemporary setting, and a café, Privé ACM, offering all day dining. There are ballrooms and halls available for functions. The museum shop has souvenirs and a wide range of books on Asian art.


  1. ^ "Story of Our Museums". Asian Civilisations Museum. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
  2. ^ "Asian Civilisations Museum". Archived from the original on 2 September 2021. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  3. ^ "Story of Our Museums". Story of Our Museums – Asian Civilisations Museum. 19 September 2016. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
  4. ^ "Asian Civilisations Museum ranked top museum in Singapore: TripAdvisor". MediaCorp. TODAY. 17 September 2014. Archived from the original on 17 September 2014. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  5. ^ "New Spaces". New Spaces. Asian Civilisations Museum. 2015. Archived from the original on 12 September 2016. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  6. ^ Auto, Hermes (25 July 2016). "Kennie Ting appointed as new director of the Asian Civilisations Museum | The Straits Times". www.straitstimes.com. Archived from the original on 9 May 2022. Retrieved 9 May 2022.
  7. ^ "Somaskanda (Shiva, Parvati, and their son Skanda)". Asian Civilisations Museum. Archived from the original on 27 August 2015.
  8. ^ "Seated Buddha". Asian Civilisations Museum. Archived from the original on 28 August 2015. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  9. ^ "Head of a Bodhisattva". Asian Civilisations Museum. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
  10. ^ "Asian Civilisations Museum turns the spotlight on Singapore fashion". Lifestyle Asia Singapore. 24 June 2021. Archived from the original on 29 June 2021. Retrieved 29 June 2021.


  • Lenzi, Iola (2004). Museums of Southeast Asia. Singapore: Archipelago Press. p. 200 pages. ISBN 981-4068-96-9.