building detailsSAM comprises two buildings of great historical significance: the former St. Joseph's Institution (SJI) along Bras Basah Road and the former Catholic High School along Queen Street. The former was gazetted as a National Monument on 14 February 1992. From 2019 onwards, SAM will be undergoing a major revamp of its buildings.
The galleries in the Central Building were formed by knocking down walls that made up former classrooms.
The Glass Hall was originally a gymnasium and opened on three sides.
Once the chapel of the school, this decommissioned chapel is now an art exhibition space.
This building, originally known as Anderson Building, was named after Sir John Anderson, Governor of the Straits Settlements (1904 – 1911).
The Queen Street Wing was constructed at the site of the Brothers’ Quarters.
These were originally the school quadrangles.
It was 'modernised' in the 1950s to become the school hall, then known as the Oei Tiong Han Hall. All arches were flattened, Doric columns were turned into cylindrical columns and external walls and windows were added to enclose it. This hall was restored to its original state based on an original drawing found on site.
The Glass Hall is commonly used for exhibition openings and related programmes.
All the important elements of the chapel are preserved. These include the small 'basins' for holy water, Stations of the Cross, original pressed steel ceiling and dado panels, and original concrete floor tiles. Salmon is the original colour of the walls. When the school was taken over for the construction of the Museum, several pieces of old floor tiles were found missing. These were reinstated with the new tiles specially manufactured to match the old. A plaque outside the chapel commemorates Brother Michael (1856 –1936) who, as Director of SJI (1900 – 1914) played a major part in the development of the 3 historic buildings that are preserved.