August is a very special month in Singapore, with Singapore's National Day celebrated on the 9th. August 2011 is even more unique, with Hari Raya Puasa coming next Tuesday (30 Aug) and the Presidential Elections today (more on that later, Pris is actually out at her polling station right now and she'll be making a post about that).
Through the month of August, in celebration of National Day, all Singaporean citizens and PRs have free admission to the majority of museums in the country. Even better, on national holidays ALL people in Singapore are granted free admission. Pris and I have been taking advantage of this and while we haven't had much time to post about our experiences yet we have definitely been keeping ourselves busy.
Today, since I've finally got a few hours free (in between the Natas Travel Fair this morning and trip to Borders at Parkway Parade for special deals since the Wheelock Place Borders closed unexpectedly tonight) I can make the first of our museum posts- actually about the first museum we visited- Singapore Philatelic Museum.
For those who aren't in the field or involved in the area at all, philately is the study of stamps and postal history in general, and the Singapore Philatelic Museum focuses on stamps and the like produced in the Southeast Asian region, especially Singapore, as you can imagine.
Neither Pris nor I are very interested in stamps and whatnot and expected we'd likely breeze through the museum in an hour or less, but were pleasantly surprised that it was actually one of our favorites. No doubt learning the history of stamps and mailboxes can be boring, but with lots of exhibits and interactive things it made the trip much more fun. ...Actually, we were pretty childish through our visit and took advantage of their "stamp press" machines meant for the kids, where you can collect cute ink stamps on paper.
(this one was our favorite!)
There are plenty of exhibits and rooms to browse through, including a kid's room for drawing and cute stamp hopscotches on the ground, but we mostly just enjoyed the colors and look of old stamps and mailboxes.
While it's not the sort of museum I can see us stopping in to check out for each new exhibit, it's definitely worth at least one stop in if you have a bit of free time. Another benefit is that it's within short walking distance to the National Museum of Singapore, Singapore Art Museum and the Peranakan Museum (yes, we also made stops at all of those!) so if you're looking for an interesting way to spend the day you can take quite a few hours between those.
There are a few other upcoming events if you haven't had a chance to visit yet. There will be free admission to all on Hari Raya Puasa (30 Aug), Deepavali (26 Oct) and a Stamp Fair held 11 Sept. Admission on days other than National Holidays is $5 for adults and $4 for children, and the museum is open 1-7pm Mondays and 9am-7pm Tuesdays-Sundays. You can easily reach by foot from City Hall MRT, Clark Quay MRT or Bras Basah MRT.
If you absolutely can't find the time to make it down but would like the see what they've got, you can take the virtual tour instead!
( but you can't see the old mailboxes unless you go in person!)