This Hidden Gem Is Probably One Of Singapore's Most Beautiful Libraries


Faruq Senin •  Jan 12, 2021

[Updated: 24 June 2021]

The National Gallery Singapore is one of the country's most amazing attractions as it holds the largest collection of Southeast Asian art in the region. If you've been to the National Gallery, you'll know that the museum is made up of the former Supreme Court and City Hall, which have been restored. Now, did you know that the gallery also houses a 2-storey Rotunda Library & Archive Collection?

Tucked away on the third floor of National Gallery Singapore, the Rotunda Library is housed in the former Supreme Court and it used to be the Law Library. The library is now a research hub for the study of art history in Southeast Asia.

Credit: National Gallery Singapore

With a high dome ceiling and columns, the Rotunda Library's preserved colonial architecture makes it a gorgeous space for some quiet reading. The museum's reference and archive collection were moved to the Rotunda Library in 2019 in order to make it more accessible for researchers and docents.

P.S. Check out these 17 Instagrammable spots in Singapore too!

Besides being a beautiful reading space, the Rotunda Library also contributes to the Gallery's vision of examining art history. It has over 20,000 physical and digital items, including rare publications, exhibition catalogues and more, including comprehensive collections of Singapore and Southeast Asian art-historical resources from the 19th-21st centuries.

Some of its functions also include digitisation of art materials, building a collection of historical significance as well as providing access to support research.

Credit: National Gallery Singapore

The Rotunda Library & Archive is open to walk-in visitors and you won't need to book a slot. Plus, it's free too. However, due to enhanced Safe Management Measures and capacity limits, the Rotunda Library & Archive will be temporarily closed to walk-in visits from 24 May to 2 July 2021. Priority for entry will be given to researchers who have made appointments to consult reference or archival materials. You can write to [email protected] should you need the resources.

Rotunda Library & Archive @ National Gallery Singapore

Location: Supreme Court Wing, Level 3, UOB Southeast Asia Gallery, Rotunda Library & Archive

Address: 1 St Andrew's Road, Singapore 178957

Operating hours: Tues-Thurs 10AM-12:30PM, 2-5PM


P.S. Visiting the National Gallery? Check out our halal food guide to the Civic District!