The National Museum of Singapore is the oldest museum in the country and is dedicated to the history of Singapore. It began as the Raffles Library Museum and Museum in the Singapore Institution in 1849 and eventually moved to Stamford Road in 1887. The new building had been commissioned in 1882. It was originally designed by Sir Henry McCallum, GCMG (1852-1919), the Governor, but his version was scaled down and the final version was overseen by Major J.F. McNair.
The museum was originally known for its zoological and ethnographic collections from South East Asia. It was also a research centre, with many well-informed curators and directors. Extensions were added in 1906, 1916, 1926 and 1934. During the Second World War, it was left intact since the Japanese Army recognised the importance and scholarship of the Raffles collection. After Independence in 1965, it focused more on the building of the nation and its history. At that point, it was renamed the National Museum. In 2003 it closed for a time for extensive restoration.
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