Former Saint Joseph's Institution

Former Saint Joseph's Institution

Former Saint Joseph's Institution

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The Former Saint Joseph's Institution (Chinese: 前圣约瑟书院) is a historic building in Singapore, located at Bras Basah Road in the Museum Planning Area, within the Central Area, Singapore's central business district. The building has been restored and currently houses the Singapore Art Museum.


Until 2006 the Singapore Art Museum was Saint Joseph's Institution, one of Singapore's oldest Catholic boys' schools. In 1992, the building was gazetted as a national monument and it was converted into the Singapore Art Museum, which opened on 20 December 1996. Many of the building's original features were sensitively preserved.

Saint Joseph's Institution was set up by Father Jean-Marie Beurel, who was also responsible for the building of the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd from 1843 to 1847. Saint Joseph's Institution began life on 1 May 1852 in a wood and attap chapel building completed in 1833 at Bras Basah Road. The erection of the adjacent Cathedral of the Good Shepherd had allowed the original chapel to be converted into a school for boys, but a need for a better school building was quickly felt. The foundation stone for the present central block was laid on 19 March 1855 but funds had run out the year before.

In 1863, Brother Lothaire, now Brother Director, arrived from Penang and pleaded to the government for financial assistance. He designed and raised funds for the new school building. By August 1867, the new school was ready. This was the year when the...
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