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New Spaces

UNDERSTANDING ASIA THROUGH SINGAPORE

The new galleries at the ACM use Singapore’s history as a port city as a means of understanding the interconnections between Asian cultures, and between Asia and the world. The new and refreshed permanent galleries will be arranged along broad themes highlighting cross-cultural connections, rather than segmented by geography or cultures.

Connecting the cultures of Asia 

Trade and the Exchange of Ideas 

  • 9th-century exchanges: The Tang Shipwreck 
  • Southeast Asia as a trading hub 
  • Chinese porcelain, Southeast Asian ceramics, Indian textiles and furniture 
  • Global consumption of Asian luxuries 

Faith and Belief 

  • Ancient Indian faiths 
  • Spread of Hinduism and Buddhism throughout Asia 
  • Christianity and Islam in Asia 

Click on the various tabs to find out more about our new galleries.

HISTORY OF THE BUILDING

The original part of the building that now houses the Asian Civilisations Museum was completed in 1867. There were several additions to the building in the late 19th and early 20th century. It served as the colonial government offices, and housed numerous government departments, from customs to the legislative council, and until the 1980s, the Immigration Department. From 1989 until 1995, it served as the Empress Place Museum. The ACM moved into the building in 2003. After more than a decade, ACM is again renewing itself, adding to the rich history of its building.

ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN

The architecture of the ACM reflects Singapore’s own urban architecture – a mix of the old and the new; the colonial and the contemporary.

The two new wings add over 1,300 sqm to the ACM. Designed by GreenHilLi Pte Ltd, headed by architects Nigel Greenhill and Li Sau Kei, they bring light and space to the museum visitor experience, using warm-toned titanium and glass to create a look that contrasts yet complements the original neoclassical façade.

BACKGROUND OF REVAMP

At the 2014 Committee of Supply Debate, it was announced that a $65 million package was to be dedicated to enhancing Singapore museums and cultural institutions. About $35 million was used to fund major revamps of the National Museum of Singapore and the Asian Civilisations Museum as part of Singapore’s 50th-anniversary celebrations this year. 

In the third quarter of 2014, the ACM embarked on a comprehensive renewal of the museum, which includes new construction and reimagined galleries that will display objects in new ways. The expanded and refreshed galleries will enhance visitor experience and better share Singapore’s Asian heritage through the historical connections between cultures. 

The revamp is carried out in phases: Phase 1 was unveiled on 14 November 2015. Phase 2 will be completed in April 2016, with further enhancements to follow.

Kwek Hong Png Wing

The new three-storey Kwek Hong Png Wing (869 sqm) is a striking contemporary cube that floats on the Empress Place side of the museum. The wing was made possible by a generous donation from Hong Leong Foundation. Two galleries were opened on 14 November 2015, and the third gallery is due for completion in April 2016.

Kwek Hong Png Wing

Contemporary Project Gallery (Level 1)

Grains of Thought - ACM Contemporary Project

The Scholar in Chinese Culture (Level 2)

Scholar in Chinese CultureScholar in Chinese Culture


Riverfront Wing

The Riverfront Wing (1827 sqm with existing spaces), featuring a contemporary architectural style that blends with the existing colonial facade, re-orients and the museum towards the Singapore River, the historical source of Singapore’s prosperity. A plaza with a series of steps leading down to the river adds space for performances and other public events.

ACM Riverfront (in construction)

ACM Riverfront Wing

Above the entrance is the River Terrace (Level 2), which is also an ideal setting for events.

River Terrace (at the ACM Gala event on 21 Nov 2015)

Tang Shipwreck Gallery: Khoo Teck Puat Gallery

Tang Shipwreck Gallery

Tang Shipwreck Gallery

Dining Options

Privé Café at ACM

With vintage Singapore decor, the museum’s new café brings visitors down memory lane as they enjoy drinks, snacks, or a full meal. With views of the historic Singapore River, Privé offers all-day casual dining, including alfresco seats by the river.

Prive Cafe at ACM

The Empress

ACM’s new restaurant captures the essence of the museum through its interior design and tableware, while offering diners a gastronomical journey through exquisite Cantonese cuisine. The Empress also features an outdoor waterfront bar.

Other Galleries

Ancient Religions of India

Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple Gallery (Level 2)

Ancient Religions in India

South Asia and the Islamic World: Highlights from the Collection

Foyer display (Level 2)

South Asia and the Islamic World

Opening on 14 November 2015

14 November 2015 marked the completion of the first phase of the Asian Civilisations Museum’s comprehensive revamp, with two new wings officially opened by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Ms Grace Fu. The Riverfront Wing, which houses the Khoo Teck Puat Gallery, and the three-storey Kwek Hong Png Wing present brand new, re-imagined spaces that give us more space to display objects that illuminate the multifaceted connections and interactions between Asian cultures throughout history.

Over 400 friends and supporters greeted ACM's new spaces and galleries on Saturday, 14 November 2015. 

For media releases on the opening of new spaces at the ACM, please refer to:

Here are some snapshots of our opening event. 

Dr Alan Chong's address at the opening ceremonyRibbon cutting ceremony at the Kwek Hong Png wingMinister Grace Fu at the Tang Shipwreck GalleryMr Kwek Leng Beng, Mrs Cecilia Kwek and other guests at ACM's opening on 14 Nov 2015Visitors at the Tang Shipwreck gallery on opening dayVisitors at the Scholar in Chinese Culture gallery, Kwek Hong Png Wing Level 2Visitors at the Ancient Religions gallery on opening dayA big thank you from all of us at ACM

The opening reception was kindly sponsored by Purple Sage Catering. For more information about Purple Sage, please visit www.purplesage.com.sg.