Amongst the countless razzle-dazzle type parks and museums around at Resorts World Sentosa, the first one you think of probably isn’t the Maritime Museum. But with its newly revamped look and structure, it may well be time to add it to the list of must-sees while you’re on everyone’s favourite tourist island.
This year, the newly renovated Maritime Experiential Museum looks better than ever before, retaining some of the most iconic structures within it, but completely restructuring and upgrading the path visitors walk to gain a truly immersive experience of maritime history over 15 thematic galleries, allowing visitors to relive the Maritime Silk Route of eras past.
From the very first steps into the museum, you’ll be introduced to four of the most iconic, dauntless explorers of all time – Marco Polo, Ibn Battuta, Emperor Zheng He and finally, Singapore’s very own Sang Nila Utama, as they materialize digitally on a snazzy new screen and guide visitors through the epic journeys they embarked on for the sake of discovery.
As you walk through, you’ll notice there’s a real commitment to realism and the immersive experience in this new version of the Maritime Museum. Take for example the very first room you find yourself in. Recreating a library, one feels dwarfed by the towering walls and huge tomes stacked up in shelves all around you.
Moving along, you’ll even find yourself transported to places as fascinating as a ship’s hold. Now, the Maritime Experiential Museum has never been purely about getting photo opportunities (although you can digitally edit a photo of yourself to look like one of the four intrepid explorers). There’s a genuine educational element to the museum, with plenty of historical factsheets and artefacts one can refer to, from early tools for measuring distances, compasses and even a board which teaches you the various types of sailor’s knots!
The Maritime Experiential Museum has of course, maintained some of their greatest treasures for visitors to explore in detail, such as the Jewel of Muscat ship. A gift from the Sultan of Oman, this recreation of a classic ship made an actual journey with sailors steering it through the seas from Oman to Singapore (which the museum has handily displayed in documentary format), finally docking at our shores and now housed in the museum. Visitors can even use a smart, interactive screen pointed at the Jewel and find out about individual parts and segments of the ship.
The Typhoon Theatre’s still around too, and visitors can still get an intimate, up close look at a shipwreck while safely experiencing the wrath of the seas in this fascinating electronic contraption. With shows every 30 minutes, there’s plenty of time for any volume of visitors to get in and feel the waves rock their bodies.
Even after the Typhoon Theatre, visitors still have plenty of room to explore the remainder of the museum, with faithful recreations of the four major ports of the ancient world, namely China, the Middle East, Malacca and of course, Singapore. You’ll see setups that recreate old Chinese teahouses, spice shops amidst a busy market (with a camel too!) and even a Peranakan household located right beside the famed Melaka Christ Church.
While not entirely complete yet, the Maritime Experiential Museum already has plenty of plans for the future, with new installations to be introduced in the coming months, themed in-house performances, and of course, catering to school groups for learning journeys and educational field trips. Interestingly enough, they’ve even received a request from a cosplay interest group to be used as an exhibition space for a One Piece anime themed exhibit!
By the time you reach the end of the short but sweet walk, you’ll be rewarded with a pleasant video to end off your journey, as a specially created video depicts a young Singaporean boy talking to his grandfather (voiced by none other than Lim Kay Siu), and the maritime knowledge is passed down from generation to generation. And that perfectly sums up what the Maritime Experiential Museum is all about – a journey across time and space, learning each step of the way, and fully immersing yourself in all the wonders the ocean and its brave sailors from ships past have to offer.
For more information on The Maritime Experiential Museum and to book tickets online, visit their website here