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Free admission for all visitors. Separate fees apply for the digital Play:Mate toy avatars and games.

Play:Date – Unlocking Cabinets of Play is a new experiential pop-up that invites all to relive and connect over nostalgic memories centred on toys. A collective effort with our local community of artists and toy collectors, this showcase presents over 250 locally and globally recognisable toys across various eras.

Play:Date showcase at the National Museum of Singapore

Departing from the traditional museum exhibition format, Play:Date imaginatively transforms different parts of the Museum into a joyous landscape of play – including the temporary spaces and construction hoardings installed for our ongoing restoration works.

From extensive toy collections to large-scale artworks, get ready to reconnect with your favourite toys and relive your childhood memories. Take your visit to the next level with engaging digital gamified experiences featuring your very own digital toy avatar Play:Mate!

Play:Date – Unlocking Cabinets of Play is a free showcase and will run until 5 January 2025. Separate fees apply for the digital gamified experiences within the showcase.

 

Artwork

The exterior hoardings around the National Museum’s facade have been decorated with large-scale commissioned artworks by local artists, taking visitors on a journey through the life cycle of toys, likely evoking some personal memories along the way. Each artwork features interactive and tactile elements that aim to stimulate curiosity and kickstart the process of learning through play.

Night Shift by Tiffany Lovage

Night Shift by Tiffany Lovage

Joy in the Making by Candice Phang

Joy in the Making by Candice Phang

Playtime Pandemonium by Shian Ng

Playtime Pandemonium by Shian Ng

Flea-ting Moments by Muhammad Izdi

Flea-ting Moments by Muhammad Izdi

When I Was Big by Kristal Melson

When I Was Big by Kristal Melson

Inside the museum, the entrance to Play:Date is a tunnel housing a digital parade of toy figurines titled The Toy Colony by local artist Lioncolony, also known as Oh Jia Hao. His Gman characters are inspired by toys from the 1950s to the 2000s from our National Collection and local collectors, and serve as a primer to the showcase’s overarching narrative of local and global social histories.

Play:Date showcase tunnel at the National Museum of Singapore
 

Toy Collections

Featuring an eclectic array of over 250 locally and globally recognisable toys largely from the 1980s to present day, the Play:Date toy collection comprises three main sections:

It's a Small World

Play:Date miniature toy collection at the National Museum of Singapore

Take a trip down memory lane and explore the fascinating miniature world of well-loved characters. These collections feature a series of local McDonald’s toys – including the popular Mr Kiasu figurines – from avid collector Tay Swee Hock, a recreation of the iconic ‘Fillet o Fish’ ride from the 1980s, as well as a collection of Barbie dolls from Jian Yang, which includes unique collaborations with local brands.

Play:Date Barbie toy collection at the National Museum of Singapore

Also see ActionCity's collection of locally-designed figurines, such as the Pucky Rose Knight specially designed to commemorate the opening of Southeast Asia's first official POP MART store in Singapore in 2021, and the first-ever art collectible by Singaporean sculptor Daniel Yu, inspired by Mickey Mouse and the Jiangshi, a popular character of Chinese folklore.

Play:Date: Mr. Kiasu toy collection at the National Museum of Singapore
Play:Date: Pucky Rose Knight
Play:Date: Jiangshi Mickey Mouse

Drive-Through Time

Play:Date toy cars collection at the National Museum of Singapore

Ride back in time with familiar vehicular brands like Hot Wheels, Tamiya, Matchbox and more from the collections of Clarence Tan, Jeffrey Wong, Ian Goh, Mohammad Ridzal and Mohammad Noor Farhan. Be awed by The Original 16, the first-ever collection of cars released by Hot Wheels in 1968.

Play:Date Matchbox cars at the National Museum of Singapore

Also look out for a remodelled Tamiya Rover Mini Cooper, painted to resemble Mr. Bean’s iconic green car and personally autographed by Tamiya’s CEO Mr Shunsaku Tamiya, as well as the iconic yellow Matchbox cars – with vehicles ranging from trade lorries and trailers to helicopters and emergency vehicles.

Play:Date Tamiya car at the National Museum of Singapore
Play:Date Back to the Future III DeLorean time machine at the National Museum of Singapore
Play:Date Mr Bean Mini Cooper at the National Museum of Singapore

Batteries Included

Play:Date digital toy collection at the National Museum of Singapore

Capturing the shift to digital toys, this last section features retro game consoles and devices. See collector Rachel Liew’s iconic Tamagotchi collection featuring many rare designs and characters such as Gudetama, Hello Kitty and Pac-Man. Collector Tony Saw’s classic and special handheld consoles by Nintendo and Casio meanwhile include a unique calculator that allows students to play a boxing game in secret. More recent experiences include the recreation of Sentosa on popular digital games Animal Crossing and Roblox.

Play:Date Tamagotchi at the National Museum of Singapore
Play:Date: Nintendo at the National Museum of Singapore
Play:Date: Submarine Battle at the National Museum of Singapore
 

Personalised Play Experiences

Enjoy interactive gaming experiences inspired by old-school gaming arcades! Start off by purchasing a Starter Pack to get your avatar and game credits. Accumulate points by playing Memory Match, where you have to memorise a sequence of objects on the screen; Roadblock Highway, where you can engage in an adrenaline-filled virtual race; or Brick Battle, where you need to break bricks as quickly as possible. To complement the nostalgic vibe, you'll be able to view a 'live' 8-bit camera image of yourself via an '8bitify screen'.

Play:Date interactive games at the National Museum of Singapore

With the points you’ve collected from these games, start designing your own personalised avatar – your 'Play:Mate' – with Discover Your Play-sonality, created in collaboration with local artists and ActionCity. Choose from a selection of four digital toy avatars with customisable accessories and companions. Take a photo of yourself and your Play:Mate at the photo booth, or opt for a physical photo printout with a donation to the museum.

Hungry for more? Purchase a Booster Pack* on top of your Starter Pack, where you can play 5 more rounds of games.

Game credits will expire at the end of the day of visit that you select during your purchase, but you can access your Play:Mate throughout the campaign period. We regret to inform you that there can be no refunds or exchanges for unused credits or Starter Packs.
Get Started!
Download your Play:Mate toy avatar set up guide

*A minimum of one Starter Pack is required for your base avatar before you can proceed with purchasing the Booster Pack to accumulate further points.

Note:
1 Starter Pack at S$5 = 1 digital toy avatar + 3 game credits
1 Booster Pack at S$5 = 5 game credits

 

Additional experiences

MUSEUM MARTKET by ABRY x Khiam Teck

Alongside the showcase, MUSEUM MARTKET by ABRY will be partnering up with old-school Holland Village party shop Khiam Teck and selling traditional toys and games at the museum store. A beloved local establishment that drew its shutters in May 2024 after over 80 years of business, Khiam Teck will be given a new lease of life with ABRY within the Museum's walls, where customers can relive their nostalgic memories of buying old-school knick-knacks.

 

Share your toy stories with us

Collecting Contemporary Singapore

As part of our latest Open Call for Collecting Contemporary Singapore, we invite you to donate your toys from the 1980s to present day and share your stories about them.

Play & Toys Open Call
 

Opening Weekend of Play:Date

6 & 7 Jul | 10am – 5pm | Glass Atrium, Level 2 and around the museum

Play:Date showcase at the National Museum of Singapore

Our opening weekend of the museum’s newest experiential pop-up Play:Date – Unlocking Cabinets of Play took place from 6–7 July 2024 and saw a high turnout. Guests could explore toy collections, large-scale interactive artworks and digital gamified experiences themed around play. On this weekend only, guests could also relive their childhoods with both nostalgic and new tabletop games, or complete a short quiz at our toy showcase to grab a “playful” prize from our giant claw machine*!

 

Play:Date – Unlocking Cabinets of Play

05 Jul 2024 - 05 Jan 2025
Daily from 10am to 7pm | Last admission at 6.30pm
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