CHIJ Secondary School in Toa Payoh officially opened its museum exhibiting artifacts from its 158-year-long history.
The May 25 event was the culmination of one and half years of hard work and research for the former “town convent”, one of 11 schools run by the Infant Jesus (IJ) Sisters.
IJ provincial Sr Agnes Lee, school principal Regina Lee and vice principal Mathews Shu Quo launched the museum by ringing a bell which came from the school’s former site in Victoria Street.
The museum showcases the former habits the IJ Sisters wore, old report cards, details of luminaries such as Singapore’s first chief minister David Marshall (the school once housed boys), photographs of the nuns in Bahau, Malaysia, during the Second World War, parts of the old school structure and even chairs students once used. There are also video clips of days gone by.
“The idea of a CHIJ museum was first mooted in 2010, though it has been a 15-year-old dream,” Mrs Lee told those present for the launch, who included CHIJ board members, overseas visitors, principals of CHIJ schools, alumni and benefactors.
“The intent was to capture and commemorate the humble beginnings of our CHIJ culture and tradition and to recount the challenges that our CHIJ Sisters faced and the wonderful work that they did during CHIJ’s founding years.”
Students said the museum is an important means of connecting with the past.
“It helps to educate future generations on our history,” said Annabel Lam. “This museum will also help us understand our IJ history.”
Henna Lim, another student shared, “I’m very proud of IJ’s history. This museum is a very good way to showcase our very rich history and culture.”
During the launch, school chaplain Fr Michael Sitaram conducted a prayer service and blessing of the museum.
By Don Gurugay