The Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) is a museum of natural history at the Kent Ridge Campus of the National University of Singapore. Officially opened on 18 April 2015, it houses the Raffles Natural History Collection.
The idea for a natural history collection was first mooted by Sir Stamford Raffles, and the collection of Southeast Asian biodiversity was begun in 1849 at the Raffles Museum (now the National Museum of Singapore). In 1972, the Government of Singapore removed the natural history collections from the National Museum and gave them to the Zoology Department of what was then the University of Singapore. They were housed in various temporary premises, including the Nanyang Technological University for seven years. Subsequently, they were returned to the NUS and housed in the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research. LKCNHM inherited the natural history collections from the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research.
The Museum currently has more than 560,000 catalogued lots in its collection and over a million specimens from throughout the region. About 2,000 of these will be on public exhibition.
day the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) has a long and somewhat convoluted history. Even today, we have long debates on when it was actually born! Some insist it is very old – going back to 1823, when the founder of modern Singapore, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, established the Singapore Institution. Others note that the idea for a museum was first tabled in 1849, when the Singapore Library proposed this after receiving a special gift of coins from the Temenggong Ibrahim of Johore. Many comment that since Singapore celebrated the centenary of the National Museum in 1987, it must have been founded in 1887. Yet others look at official papers which first mentioned funding for “Raffles Library and Museum” in 1874, making this name official. The then Legislative Council for the island approved the “Raffles Societies Ordinance” in 1878, thereby formally making the entity legal.
Regardless of the date one chooses, the Raffles Museum and its present incarnations, the National Museum of Singapore and the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, are the oldest such institutes in Southeast Asia. For management purposes and point of law, the date of 16 December 1878 is a practical, and perhaps the most objective one for the “start” of the natural history museum.
LKCNHM inherited the natural history collection from its predecessor, the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research (RMBR) (established in 1998), whose collection was that of the Zoological Reference Collection (ZRC) (formally opened on 31 October 1988), which of course stems from the original Raffles Museum that was renamed the National Museum of Singapore in 1965.
The LKCNHM itself was formally established as an independent academic unit under the Faculty of Sciences (FoS) on 1 April 2014. The rationale for treating the LKCNHM as a new academic unit was because of the nature of its mission – to safeguard the national collection of animals and natural heritage – and that it was built on public donations and sustained by a substantial endowment.
Operationally, the LKCNHM is composed of two major entities. The most important of course, is the plant and animal collections which form the core of its existence and this is research-centric. Then there is the public gallery section, and this also includes the teaching and outreach components of the museum. The building management and administrative office support their activities.
Monday (except PH) - Closed
Tuesday to Sunday - 10am - 7pm
Singapore Resident Rate:
Adult - $16
Child, Student, NSF, Senior Citizen & Person w/ Disability - $9
Adult - $21
Child, Student, Senior Citizen - $13
SBS Transit: 151
NUS Raffles Hall (B16169)
SBS Transit: 96, 151, 151e