What I love about museums in Singapore is that most get really creative with their themes and displays. Gone are the days of simple-looking museums; now, we have museums with wacky facades and even wackier interiors.
A perfect example of a unique museum is the Vintage Camera Museum. Right off the bat, this museum will watch your eye because it’s literally shaped like a camera!
If you’re planning to visit the Vintage Camera Museum soon, this article can serve as your guide; it has everything you need to know about this attraction.
Things to Know
Address: 8C Jln Kledek, Singapore 199263
Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday—11 am to 7 pm
Contact Number: +6562912278
How to Get There
The best way to get to the Vintage Camera Museum is by riding the MRT. When you do ride the train, you should disembark at either the Bugis or Lavender stations—the museum will only be a few minutes away on foot from either one.
If riding the bus is your preferred public transportation method, you can ride any of the following bus services: 107, 170, 51, 61, 7, or 80. Then, alight at any of the following bus stops:
- Jln Sultan—Opp Textile Ctr (01231)
- Victoria St—Bugis Stn Exit A (01113)
- North Bridge Road—Parkview Sq (01139)
- Jln Sultan—Sultan Plaza (01239)
— From: abbienoche
Senior Citizen: S$15
Child (6–12 years old): S$15
Child (under 5 years old): Free
— From: natthaphum
The Vintage Camera Museum was constructed by Solaiyappan Ramanathan (a steel trader) and his cousin A.P. Shreethar for the sole purpose of educating people about the evolution of the camera.
In order to accomplish this goal, Ramanathan and Shreethar donated a good chunk of their personal camera collections, which have about 7,000 cameras.
The museum was opened to the public on June 1, 2017.
What to Expect
Unique Architecture and Design
— From: anukmau
The first thing you’ll notice when you visit the Vintage Camera Museum is its architecture and design. Outside, the museum is shaped like a giant Rollei camera, with the entryway being the camera lens.
The museum has a total floor area of 2,500 square feet, which makes it the largest camera-shaped building in the world.
Additionally, the ground outside the museum is an Instagram-worthy spot since it’s adorned with various camera-themed structures.
About 1,000 Cameras on Display
— From: geebanaag
Of course, the main highlight of the museum is its extensive display. It features over 1,000 cameras, all of which are taken from the personal collections of Ramanathan and Shreethar.
The best thing about the museum’s collection is the variety. There are so many kinds of cameras—ranging from the typical old-school ones to uniquely designed ones that were used for specific purposes.
— From: rdanielalvarez1
Here are some of the cameras that captured my attention when I visited the museum for the first time.
- One of the Oldest Cameras. I don’t know the exact name of this camera, but it’s definitely one of the oldest. It’s primarily made of wood, and the lens is pretty big. It’s said that it takes hours just to take one photo.
- Echo-8 Cigarette Lighter Spy Camera. Who would’ve thought that a lighter can fit a camera inside it? That’s exactly what Suzuki Optical Company did in the 1950s. Since it’s not conspicuous, this lighter camera is used for espionage.
- Robo Toy Camera. As the name suggests, this one is a robot toy with a camera in the middle. This was popular in the 1990s, and I like how it really looks like a toy—maybe it was intended for children to play with.
- Old-School Polaroids. I’ve always been a big fan of instant photos, so of course, I was thrilled to see the first camera to do this: the iconic Polaroid. There are many editions of Polaroids here, so it’s nice to see how the brand evolved.
- Machine Gun Camera. Yes, you read that right—it’s a camera made to look like a machine gun! This spy camera was widely used during World War II, so maybe that’s why it’s designed like that.
- The World’s Smallest Camera. What is the point of having an extremely small camera? I’m not really sure myself, especially since its image sensor is only 2 MP, but it does look cool.
- Spy Pigeons. Speaking of cool spy cameras, this one used to be strapped on a pigeon; then, the pigeon would fly over enemy territory to take a picture. This type of camera is a hit-or-miss, but it was very helpful during wartime.
I could go on and on about the other cameras I saw in this museum, but we’d be here all day. So, when you stop by this museum, take your time to really explore every shelf, nook, and cranny!
A Series of Vintage Photos
— From: bisiiiy1
Aside from a wide collection of cameras from all over the world, the museum also houses a series of vintage photos. Most of them are replicas, however.
The gallery features pictures of the moon landing and the first attempt at war photography. My personal favorites are the photos depicting a mundane scene back in the day—like a photo of someone in a brand-new car in the 1920s.
You might also be interested in the wooden 3D glasses that were used in the late 1800s. These glasses let you view photos in their full three-dimensional glory, and it really makes you appreciate the genius of early inventors and photographers.
Fun Photoshoots at the Click Art Section
— From: inkamagnaye
The Click Art Section has to be my favorite part of the Vintage Camera Museum. This section features several paintings, created by the co-owner A.P. Shreethar himself, and they all look like optical illusions.
For example, there are paintings of the Mona Lisa pointing at you and old men holding out a selfie stick.
If you’re a skilled photographer, you can play with angles to get the perfect perspective—people in paintings stepping into our world and interacting with us.
I spent a good amount of time here just taking photos of me with every artwork.