Turtle museum fights for survival: 6 other quirky museums to explore in Singapore

Clockwise from top left: The interior of The Intan, founders of the Museum of Independent Music, artefacts at the Singapore Chinese Opera Museum and items displayed at the Mint Museum of Toys. PHOTOS: THE INTAN, BH FILE, FACEBOOK/SINGAPORE CHINESE OPERA MUSEUM, ST FILE
The Live Turtle and Tortoise Museum, which will have to vacate its premises in Chinese Garden next year when its lease expires in March 2018. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

A little-known museum in Chinese Garden that is home to over 500 tortoises and turtles was thrown into the spotlight this week after its owner wrote a plea on Facebook.

Ms Connie Tan, the owner of The Live Turtle and Tortoise Museum, had written to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday (March 4).

Opened in 2001, the museum is facing eviction after its lease expires on March 31. It has yet to find a new site.

PM Lee replied to the post on Monday, saying the authorities are looking into it.

Keen to explore off the beaten path? The Straits Times has compiled a list of other quirky museums found here.

1. Singapore Musical Box Museum

Take a trip back in time to the golden age of Singapore before independence through vintage music boxes, ranging from table-top boxes to jukebox-size ones.

The Singapore Musical Box Museum is where you can find the rare Edison Opera phonograph - which includes a wooden horn handmade by American inventor Thomas Edison himself.

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There are perhaps some 20 Edison phonographs left in the world, mostly in museums.

While you are there, learn about the rise and fall of musical boxes, as well as its journey to Singapore in the 19th century.

The first such museum in Singapore was set up by Japanese collector Naoto Orui in 2015.

Address: 168, Telok Ayer Street
Opening hours: 10am to 6pm, closed on Tuesdays
Admission: $12 for adults. Concession rates for students, full-time national servicemen, seniors and children
Website: http://www.singaporemusicalboxmuseum.org/

2. The Intan

Artefacts at The Intan, ranging from furniture to decorative objects and traditional clothing. PHOTO: THE INTAN

Peranakan Alvin Yapp began collecting Peranakan artefacts since the age of 18 and in 2003, this culminated in a cosy heritage home-cum-museum in Joo Chiat.

Visitors to The Intan will find more than 1,000 treasures showcasing the Peranakan culture, including a prized, 80-year-old pair of kasut manek (beaded slippers) made by Mr Yapp's maternal grandmother.

Other artefacts include furniture, decorative objects and traditional clothing, mostly acquired from private dealers, fellow collectors and other Peranakan families.

Tours, which have to be booked in advance, will end with an authentic Peranakan tea or dinner.

Address: 69, Joo Chiat Terrace
Opening hours: Daily, 7am to 10pm
Admission: $60 per visitor, visits are strictly by appointment only
Website: http://the-intan.com/

3. Singapore Chinese Opera Museum

Artefacts at the Singapore Chinese Opera Museum that is located in Sultan Plaza. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/SINGAPORE CHINESE OPERA MUSEUM

Opened in 2010, the private museum is dedicated to the development of Chinese opera in Singapore spanning more than a century.

The exhibits showcase the history of opera from different dialect groups, such as Cantonese, Teochew and Hokkien.

Those who are feeling a little peckish can enjoy a meal at its themed cafe, also located in its Sultan Plaza premises.

The museum was founded by Peking opera singer Huang Ping and her husband, film-maker and former opera percussionist Bian Huibin.

Address: 100, Sultan Plaza, #01-27
Opening hours: Tuesdays to Fridays, 11am to 6pm
Admission: Free
Website: http://www.singopera.com.sg/

4. Museum of Independent Music

Tarmizee Taksen and Anvea Chieu, founders of the Museum of Independent Music. PHOTO: BH FILE

Fans of the local music scene will be glad to know that there is a dedicated space documenting the history of Singapore's home-grown talents.

Situated in Madras Street, the Museum of Independent Music houses an extensive collection of music memorabilia. It was opened in 2015 by local music devotees Tarmizee Taksen and Anvea Chieu.

On display include cassette tapes from the 1990s featuring the music of Singapore indie bands The Oddfellows and The Stoned Revivals and a guitar belonging to veteran guitarist Suhaimi Subandie, of the pioneering local hardcore band Stompin' Ground.

Address: 23, Madras Street
Opening hours: Weekdays, 11am to 6pm
Admission: $5, but free for children aged 6 and below
Website: http://cargocollective.com/moimsg/About

5. JCU Museum of Video and Computer Games

Video games and consoles that are playable and available for the public to try. PHOTO: JCU MUSEUM OF VIDEO AND COMPUTER GAMES

Tucked in the Singapore campus of James Cook University (JCU) Australia, the museum is the first of its kind in South-east Asia dedicated to video and computer games.

From classic game consoles, such as the Magnavox Odyssey, to the modern-day PlayStation, the museum's collection also includes accompanying games and related paraphernalia.

Gamers would be happy to know that most of these systems remain playable and displayed openly for the public to try.

It was opened in 2013 and curated by JCU professor Roberto Dillon.

Address: 149, Sims Drive
Admission: Free, but reservations via phone or e-mail are required in advance
Website: https://www.facebook.com/JcuMuseum/

6. Mint Museum of Toys

The Mint Museum of Toys in Seah Street features vintage items from more than 40 countries. PHOTO: ST FILE

Embrace your inner child at the Mint (Moment of Imagination and Nostalgia with Toys) Museum of Toys, which houses a world-class collection of vintage toys and childhood collectables.

Opened in 2005, the museum has a collection of more than 8,000 vintage toys from over 40 countries, spanning the mid-19th to mid-20th century.

Address: 26, Seah Street
Opening hours: Daily, 9.30am to 6.30pm
Admission: $15 for adults, $7.50 for senior citizens and children
Website: http://emint.com/

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