Wonders of Singapore Peranakan Museum

Wonders of Singapore Peranakan Museum

When visiting Singapore, it feels as if the city was made for tourists. It is only natural to feel that way as there is a wide range of attraction spots to visit and things to do in Singapore. Tourism contributes 1% of the total economy. From sky-high building with futuristic architecture to beautiful museums preserving valuable history and heritage, you will always find something to do here. One of these attraction spots lies on Armenian Street in the Museum planning area. That attraction spot is the Peranakan Museum. If you want to discover the heritage and culture of the Peranakan people, then the Singapore Peranakan Museum is a must-visit.

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Wonders of Singapore Peranakan Museum


Overview

The Peranakan Museum is one of the highlights of the Armenian Street. The museum is located in an Old Tao Nan School, which was built in 1912. The Old Tao Nan School is considered to have great value as a national monument. Due to the tropical weather in Singapore, the museum is air-conditioned. Besides air-conditioning, the building is naturally ventilated by the large windows and verandas. Besides the permanent exhibitions, the Peranakan Museum also exhibits special exhibitions.

Entering the Peranakan Museum, you will find many pillars colored in pastel pink and engraved with detailed carvings. The symmetrical columns and the building give off of a minimal and slick vibe. The boundaries will remind you of tropical architecture. The Peranakan Museum remains open from 10 am to 7 pm from Saturday to Thursday. On Fridays, the museum remains open from 10 am to 9 pm. The ticket price is meager. It costs $6 only to buy a ticket.


History

The Old Tao Nan School was the first modern Hokkien School in the Straits Settlements. The building’s architecture features a neo-classical style. Bungalows from the Straits Settlements inspired the building’s architecture. In this architectural design, the rooms surround a center hall, and the toilets and kitchens remain outside.

In 1912 the school was converted into the museum. Ever since then, the museum was dedicated to preserving the importing heritage and culture of the Peranakan people. Furthermore, the design of the building makes it an attractive spot for people who want great photos for Instagram. In 2005, it was decided that the Peranakan Museum needed renovation. After 2005, the museum officially opened in 2008. In 1998, the Old Tao Nan School became a gazette national monument. The mastermind behind the converted architectural design was Chu Lik Ren. Chu Lik Ren worked in the Public Works Department.

History

Renovating the building, Chu wanted to face the building looking more colorful, feminine and welcoming. Hence, the choice of colors presides. The renovated building was colored white, green, and dark beige. While renovating, Chu had to keep the interior and the façade of the building just as it was, and Chu precisely did that. The wiring and other strengthening work have been kept out of sight by using the thick floors and within the members of the structure. Moreover, three-storied block was built to store all the heavy machinery, air-conditioning, the toilet, and the storage unit. With marble flooring, plasterwork, and proper lighting, the renovation of the museum came to an end.


Exhibitions

The Peranakan Museum is famous for its collection of Peranakan artifacts. These artifacts include textiles, jewelry, furniture, and more. There are ten permanent exhibitions spread across the three-storied building. The second floor is dedicated to showcasing the Peranakan marriage. The exhibition includes peeking inside the traditional wedding chamber. Exhibitions on the third floor consist of Peranakan language, fashion, food, politics, social affairs, religion, and funerary rites. In each room, you will see attracting artifacts like handmade furniture, hand-painted tiffin, amazing embroidered kebaya, and fantastic beadwork.

Beadwork

On the other hand, you won’t have a problem viewing and understanding the exhibitions as these are well lit, detailed, and clearly explained. Beadwork is an iconic symbol of the Peranakan culture. The beadworks use high quality facetted glass beads. The glass beads are from Europe. The beadworks are certainly a sight to behold. The beadworks of the Peranakan culture were a gift from a Peranakan lady names Nyonya. To make Peranakan beadwork, you need to be extremely skilled and patient. This is due to the beads being tiny. The beadworks give off a sense of elegance and pride, which is very dear to the Peranakan culture.

Exhibitions

Besides beadwork, you can learn about Peranakan people’s beliefs, religion, and other cultural features. Furthermore, you will also find a Peranakan kitchen and jewelry in the Peranakan Museum. In Peranakan culture, colors were not only used to decorate, but the use of colors had meaning. For example, the color red translated into auspicious events. On the other hand, white, green, and indigo blue represents mourning. The people of Peranakan loved pastel colors.

So, you can observe the use of pastel colors in many of their relics. These colors include muted shades of pink, blue and green. The Peranakan wedding bed is an interesting element in the exhibition. The wedding bed has much attention to detail, color, and design. You will find many pieces of jewelry hanging on top of the bed. These pieces of jewelry represented fertility. The design and color make the wedding bed a stand-alone artwork. However, the wedding bed is only a small part of the Peranakan wedding culture.

Source: MelindaChan – Flickr

In the museum, you will find a bowl and plates with insects painted on them. These painted insects are there for a reason. The butterflies and bees on the plates stood for a good harvest and always are having food on the table.


Where To Eat

Where to Eat - Wonders of Singapore Peranakan Museum
Source: Derrick Tan

Besides enjoying amazing exhibitions, you can enjoy Peranakan cuisine over there too. Moreover, if you go to the True-Blue Cuisine, you can enjoy Baba Meal or Ang Ku Kueshs or Soon Kuesh. Just beside True-Blue Shoppe is the True-Blue Space. You can enjoy delicious meals here.


In conclusion, if you’re a history enthusiast, or you’re interested in the Peranakan heritage, visit the Singapore Peranakan Museum. You can learn a lot about the Peranakan people through the Singapore Peranakan Museum as it is the museum with the most Peranakan artifact.

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