The Singapore Navy Museum, located at Changi Naval Base, is a three-storey museum that showcases the history and traditions of the navy, highlighting the crucial role it plays in securing Singapore’s maritime links to the rest of the world.
Following an extensive refresh that was undertaken during the pandemic, the Singapore Navy Museum has reopened to the public with the central theme of “Maritime Force for a Maritime Nation”.
The museum’s galleries tell the story of the Singapore’s Navy beginnings and the modern role that it plays.
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The Singapore Navy Museum is off-the-beaten track, along Tanah Merah Coast Road. It is the first service museum to be onboarded to the Defence Collective Singapore, the museum collective that also manages the Singapore Discovery Centre.
However, if you are looking for something different to explore around Singapore, consider charting a course for the Navy Museum at Tanah Merah Coast Road.
Maritime History and Heritage
Setting the scene for the rest of the Navy Museum is the Naval Ensign, displayed just inside the museum entrance.
This revered flag was first hoisted on 5 May 1967 at 5.55 pm at the Telok Ayer Basin.
It is now raised every morning on all of the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) ships, and on shore bases and is a symbol of the navy’s commitment to defend and protect Singapore.
From this starting point, the rest of first floor of the three-storey Navy Museum is devoted to understanding Singapore’s position in the maritime world and tracing the history of the RSN.
A multimedia show takes visitors on a vivid, time-travelling journey to understand Singapore’s longstanding relationship with the sea.
The show introduces Singapore’s seafaring roots and highlights how Singapore was born of the sea.
As such, our sea routes are highly important and strategic, and the navy plays an important role in guarding Singapore’s waters.
This is further elaborated at a timeline wall of Singapore’s maritime history.
There’s also a display that shows how shipping still plays an important part till today, when many goods and products consumed in Singapore are still imported by sea.
Did you know that the Republic of Singapore Navy started out with just two wooden ships?
The origins of Singapore’s navy can be traced back to the Straits Settlement Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve or SSRNVR for short.
It was the first naval force in Singapore and formed by volunteers just before WWII broke out.
One of the interesting exhibits at this section on the first floor of the Singapore Navy Museum showcases historical artefacts from RSN Panglima. This was one of Singapore’s first two ships, with the other one being RSN Bedok.
RSN Panglima was originally commissioned as a Royal Navy ship in 1956 and saw service for Singapore when it recommissioned in 1962.
On display are significant artefacts such as the ship’s helm, bell, propeller and the Commissioning Order signed by Tan Teck Khim, Director, General Staff, Ministry of the Interior and Defence.
RSN Panglima was eventually decommissioned in 1991 after 35 years of active service.
Visitors can then walk through the Tunnel of Progress where models of the RSN’s ships through the years are on display. Amongst these are ships like the Formidable-class Frigate and the Independence-class Littoral Mission Vessel.
Take a deeper dive into the role that the Republic of Singapore Navy plays today on Level Two.
The Our Maritime Security section, which has a huge display, provides an overview of the operations undertaken to protect Singapore’s maritime waterways and keep them safe and secure.
A display tunnel tackles the subject of the long-standing Pedra Branca maritime dispute.
Another section features Singapore’s submarines and highlights submariner traditions such as the dolphin dive.
Sticking with undersea theme, there is hyperbaric chamber on display. This was gifted to the RSN in the 1970s and was used to prevent decompression sickness. At one time, it was such as rare piece of equipment that it was even used by other countries in the region.
The elite frogmen of the Singapore Navy also get showcased. The public can learn more about the rich history of the Naval Diving Unit and its many roles.
There is an impressive static display of missile models. This include the Harpoon missile, the heaviest missile in use by the navy.
Head up to level three to round up your visit by viewing gifts that the Singapore Navy has received from other navies around the world.
End the visit to the Singapore Navy Museum with a multimedia presentation on the navy’s operations.
Outdoor Exhibit Displays
Don’t forget to pay a visit to the impressive outdoor display which include guns such as the Bofors 76 mm L/50 mm Gun, OTO Melara 76 mm Super Rapid Gun, and Oerlikon 20 mm Singapore Barrel Gun, Gabriel Anti-Ship Missile and more.
These are been sourced from decommissioned ships like the County-class Landing Ship Tank and Sea Wolf-class Missile Gunboat.
Also impressive is the conning tower of the RSS Centurion Challenger-class submarine.
Look out for upcoming programmes at the Singapore Navy Museum including educational experiences.
Amongst these programmes are Captain’s Conquest, a quest that will allow participants to learn more about seafaring knowledge and expertise, and Silent Waters, a deeper look at life aboard a submarine.
Rosedini Binte Abdul Rahim, General Manager of Singapore Navy Museum said, “It is our aspiration to preserve and appreciate our maritime history and seafaring heritage, showcase rare artefacts while creating a unique and engaging experience for visitors to understand and learn more about the RSN and naval traditions. We aim to enrich and deepen visitor experience and engagement while promoting a sense of belonging and participation. We invited everyone to explore the Singapore Navy Museum!”
The Navy Museum is an interesting look at the history, heritage and traditions of the Republic of Singapore Navy. It is worth a visit to learn more about this branch of the armed forces and how it protect’s Singapore’s maritime interests.
Where: 112 Tanah Merah Coast Road, Singapore 498794
The Navy Museum compound now has its own entrance, making it accessible to the public without having to go through Changi Naval Base.
Monday, Wednesday to Friday, 12 pm to 5 pm, last entry at 4.30 pm (Closed on Tuesday)
Saturday and Sunday, 10 am to 2 pm, last entry at 1.30 pm
Free for Singaporeans an Permanent Residents
Tourists and Foreign Residents – Standard Adult – $8, Concession/Student/Person with Disabilities – $5
Family Package for five – $24
Admission ticket is required for all who are visiting the Navy Museum. Public booking will be available from 18 June 2023.
Visit the Navy Museum’s website.