Asian Civilisation Museum

1 Empress Pl, Singapore 179555

Location : Empress Place Building,1 Empress Place


The Empress Place Building built in 1964/65 along the river bank as a city Court House is another prime example of the neo-classical Palladian architectural style seen so often, and lovingly preserved, in Singapore. The Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM), housed in the Empress Pace Building, is one of Singapore’s most impressive museums, with a wide collection of art and artefacts from the whole of Asia. It shares a comprehensive overview of Asian ethnicities and religions over the past two centuries.

A warm and welcoming building, It is recognised as the top museum in Singapore and, in September 2014, was placed ninth in Asia by TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice awards, making it the only Singapore museum among Asia’s top 10.


Empress Place Building initially functioned as a court house from 1865, was then revamped into Registry of Births & Deaths, Singapore Mint, and Empress Place Museum over the years until it became the site of the Asian Civilisation Museum in 2003. The building was designed by John Frederick Adolphus McNair and built by convict labour. It was named Empress Place Building in 1907 when the adjacent pedestrian space was renamed Empress Place in honour of Queen Victoria. Despite recent restorations and extensions, the two-storey building has retained the original neo-classical Palladian architectural style. In 2003 the restored building won the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s 2003 Architectural Heritage Award.

Multicultural Singapore was, and still is, a melting pot of cultures and races. The Asian Civilisations Museum, with a surface area of 14,000 square metre, and 11 galleries of Four Explore Asian Zones, containing more than 1,300 exhibits from all over Asia which justly represents this huge melting pot. It includes permanent exhibits for major religions such as Islam, Daoism, and Buddhism, together with another set of exhibits focusing on ethnic group diversification and classes. The Asian Civilisations Museum has always been a remarkable host for showcasing and promoting Asian cultural heritage. In collaboration with museums globally, special exhibitions on history, people and culture of major world civilisations fill up the calendar undoubtedly maintaining a concept of freshness for visitors all year round.

Using the Old Tao Nan School building, the museum was inaugurated on 22 April 1997, officially opened by then Deputy PM Lee Hsien Loong at Armenian Street, focusing on Chinese civilisation exhibits. Upon the restoration of the Empress Place Building, the museum was relocated there on 2 March 2003; exhibits of other Asian heritages were rapidly added to the collection. The original museum building was closed for renovations on 1 January 2006 and reopened on 25 April 2008 as the delightful Peranakan Museum.


Open from 10.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m. daily, the ACM also houses an Asian-themed café and a restaurant, a museum shop which offers books majoring in Asian art, fully-equipped ballrooms and function halls, and a spectacular view of the Singapore River.
The Asian Civilisation Museum officially launched its new logo with a new slogan on September 16, 2006. “The Asian Civilisations Museum — Where Asian Cultures Come Alive!” The new logo features a brown reflected image as the past, with vibrant orange representing activity and energy. The logo also implies the location by the historic Singapore River and Singapore cultural diversification.


1. National Heritage Board. (8 May, 2015). Museums: Asian Civilisations Museum. Retrieved from NATIONAL HERITAGE BOARD: Link Here

2. National Library Board Singapore. (30 July, 2015). Empress Place Building. Retrieved from SINGAPORE INFOPEDIA: Link Here

3. Singapore Tourism Board. (30 July, 2015). SEE & DO: Asian Civilisations Museum. Retrieved from YOURSINGAPORE: Link Here

4. Singart. (30 July, 2015). Museums: Asian Civilisations Museum. Retrieved from SINGART: Link Here

5. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. (8 March, 2015). Article: Asian Civilisations Museum. Retrieved from WIKIPEDIA THE FREE ENCYCLOPEDIA: Link Here

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