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March 21, 2008

Glamour And Glitter At Raffles Hotel Museum, Singapore

(Above: Hollywood's Ava Gardner)

Raffles Hotel Museum, Singapore

Glamour and glitter, distilled from Raffles Hotel’s luminous heritage, are abundant and apparent at the Raffles Hotel Museum to a casual visitor like me. If lifestyles of old-Singapore’s crème de la crème are your cup of tea, this place of interest may stir your paparazzi instincts. The story of Raffles Hotel began with its founding in 1887 when it was named after the founder of Singapore, Sir Stamford Raffles. Over the decades, its prominence as the de facto place to be seen and heard was cemented. This museum came into being after the hotel went under the knife for a major makeover in 1991.

(Above: Interior of Raffles Hotel Museum)

Located at Bras Besar Road, the Raffles Hotel Museum sits at the third level of the Raffles Hotel complex, occupying prime land at the Central Business District. You can peer at the many photographs, correspondence, maps, porcelain crockery and leftover memorabilia of Singapore and the region. The fascinating collection keeps its focus on travel-related materials during the golden age of travel. With its high ceilings and wide windows, the cozy museum welcomes admission between 10am to 6pm without any charge.

(Upper pic: USA's President George W Bush and Singapore's Senior Minister Lee Kwan Yew in 1992. Lower pic: Malaysia's Chief Minister designate Tengku Abdul Rahman and Singapore's Chief Minister David Marshal in 1955)

Of the many items on display, some exhibits attracted my attention more than others. An old rickshaw, looking forlorn at a corner, must have seemed as grand as a Rolls Royce back in the days when vehicular traffic was non-motorized. An old municipal map of the area showed the tremendous change that this grand hotel had witnessed. Photographs, yellow with age, point to famous personalities, writers and royalty from the past and the present. The presence of Hollywood starlet Ava Gardner, immortalised in a smiling photo, added glamour and a little glitter to a display cabinet here.

Raffles Hotel Museum is recommended for those with a penchant for the heritage charms of Raffles Hotel. Turn up the nostalgia after you’ve sipped the famous Singapore Sling at the Long Bar and bagged the most popular souvenir at the gift shop – the Raffles Hotel mug.

Do you have any interesting museums to recommend?

Take care, stay happy.

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Stardust said...

My husband loves going to the Raffles Hotel, but we didn't know that there's a museum. Thanks for sharing and we shall peep in next time. =)

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