Collection of books at the Raffles Library and Museum

The idea for a library and museum was first mooted in 1823 when the establishment of the Singapore Institution was proposed by Sir Stamford Raffles and Dr. Robert Morrison, a Scottish missionary and Chinese scholar who had established a small Chinese history museum at the same time he founded the Anglo-Chinese College in Malacca in 1818. The Raffles Library and Museum was finally opened in 1887, and the library's collection grew to an extensive 30,000 volumes by 1907, specialising in literature on the Malay Archipelago. The library continued to be part of the museum until 1955 when both departments were administratively separated, before the library - now known as the National Library - moved out of the building in 1960.