Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Singapore Philatelic Museum: More Than Just Stamps!

Here we are! Arriving at the Singapore Philatelic Museum.

Inspired by our recent visit to the National Museum of Singapore last weekend (Click HERE), we decided to conquer two small galleries at Fort Canning. The girls were out at Grandma's for lunch and we decided to meet them there at the Singapore Philatelic Museum. 'A' had an overnight camp there last year and she agreed to guide us through the exhibits.

Got our sticker ticket!

The gift shop.

Miniature replicas of postboxes through the years.

A book shop selling magazines and stamp albums.

We arrived at the museum at about 2.30 pm and scanned our NRICs as Singaporeans were granted free entry. The first gallery was what 'A' dubbed the 'orange room', which was the room she bunked in during her camp. It was dedicated to an introduction to Philately: the study of stamps and postal history of related items. It also touched on the topic of collecting, not just stamps but all sorts of artifacts.

A scooter used by postmen of the past!

Exploring erroneously printed stamps... a collector's dream!

Interesting information boards and video screens.

Collecting as a hobby: stamps often find themselves part of a larger collection theme...

In this case, a collection of items from the Simpsons is not complete without philatelic pieces.

There was a special The League Against Evil: A DC Super Heroes Exhibition housed at the museum too. It was interesting to observe costumes changed over time, check out the interesting models, and of course, stamps!

A little bit of background and history.

Superhero figurines.

Who is more good-looking? Daddy or...

In the Lee Foundation Atrium, there was the Horses for Courses exhibition, an appropriate theme to celebrate the Chinese Year of the Horse. It showcases aside from horse-related postal paraphernalia, interesting and informative information about the history of horse domestication.

A 'horse-shoe toss' is set up right in the centre of the atrium.

Puzzles to entertain the very young.

Mummy and the girls check out the info-boards.

Revisiting the humble 'saddle'...

Upstairs, the Heritage Room at first glance resembled a cardboard cut-out of a scene from old Chinatown or Bugis Junction. There were many interesting artifacts here reminding us of the racial and ethnic mix evident of our pioneer generations, and how they brought with them their skills, trade and goods to build the cultural melting pot we have today!

Entrance to the Heritage Room

Looks like a stall selling clogs next to a Chinese medicinal shop.

Trying on the wooden clogs and walking around in them.

Playing around with some of the traditional percussion instruments.

Illustrated cut-outs of our pioneers and their fashion styles.

Old photographs with an informative panel.

We had a browse through the Room of Rarities where there were many interesting documents, letters and stamps showcased. However, we were not allowed to take photographs here, and cannot share them with you. I guess the only way to enjoy this is for you to go check it out yourself!

There were some rare stuff here such as stamps, envelopes and handwritten letters from the colonial days.

The next gallery was the Spice Is Nice exhibition. The small room tells the tale of spices and how the prized commodities arrived in Singapore through maritime trade, integrating and influencing our culinary tastes.

Finding out more about the varieties of spices and the stamps that showcased their importance and diversity.

Getting interested in an interactive map that showed the plantation areas around Singapore.

And the coconut plantations were located at...

The kids seemed to enjoy watching the LEDs light up as they pressed the buttons more than learning about the maritime trade routes that brought the spices to strategically located port of Singapore. But who can blame them?

This video was produced by students from the School of Interactive and Digital Media, Nanyang Polytechnic, and shared on and the museum's official website. Enjoy!

The exhibition continued into the next gallery where the setting changed from the maritime theme to the kitchen. Lots of interesting food-related ramblings here, with interactive touch screen activities for the younger ones.

This is where we get the stuff we need to whip up our local delicacies!

Natural remedies for Ah-Boy: our on-screen boy has a number of niggling ailments. Which of our traditional natural remedies will be good for each condition?

Scenes from the past. They resemble some of the traditional markets we can still find today in Vietnam and Thailand!

This informative exhibit has containers with different spices, and when placed in the basket, a description of what it is and how it can be used appears on the screen.

Food related philately!

And we can find this in our local kopitiam!

Throwing in all the ingredients to make Singapore's traditional dishes...

After we throw in all the ingredients, we cook it and... whoa! What do we have here?

We spent a considerable amount of time enjoying the food section and all it's touch-screen goodness, but we had to move on, as we also wanted to browse the Civil Defence Heritage Gallery next door. In the next room, we were introduced to innovative and creative postage label designs.

This gallery is about stamps that stimulate not only the eyes, but all your senses! How about stamps that make sound, are animated, satisfy your sweet tooth or sing you a song? Seeing is indeed believing!

Can't imagine pasting these on the corner of my airmail envelope... these stamps embossed on foil are just too pretty, and heavy!

A set of six stamps each representing a characteristic of Superman. Stamps of steel?

These come with an aroma!

Holographic stamps... watch them move as you view them from different angles!

Put this stamp together please... it's a 'puzzling' stamp...

According to, a zoetrope is a pre-cinema animation device that creates the illusion of a moving picture by displaying a sequence of progressive phases of motion, in this case created by a set of stamps!

A quick spin and we get a short cartoon!

After a quick toilet break and another check of the souvenir shop, we left the museum to proceed to the neighbouring Civil Defence Heritage Gallery. It had been an interesting first look around at this popular learning journey destination for pre-primary and primary level school children. And when K returns here for field trips, hopefully she will step up and show them around, just as A had fun doing today!

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