This remarkable museum houses the region's most comprehensive collection of pan-Asian treasures. Its galleries explore the history, cultures, textiles and religions of Southeast Asia, China, the Asian subcontinent and Islamic west Asia. The galleries are curated to emphasise the cross-cultural connections developed through Singapore's history as a port city. The Tang Shipwreck exhibition showcases over 500 pieces of recovered booty – look out for the Chinese bronze mirrors, one of which is over 2000 years old.
The museum occupies the stately Empress Place Building. Designed by British architect John Frederick Adolphus McNair and built using Indian convict labour in 1865, it originally housed the colonial government offices. Note the elegant fusion of Palladian classicism and tropical touches, among them timber louvered shutters and a wide, shaded porch.