The National Library of Singapore (founded in 1844 and known, until 1960, as Raffles National Library) contains 5.6 million volumes, including books in the four official languages. The National Library houses the government archives and serves as a repository for official publications printed in Singapore since 1946. The library has nine full-time branches, and a mobile library service for rural portions of the island. The National University of Singapore Library contains almost 2.2 million volumes, including extensive medical and science/technology collections. (The National University of Singapore was formed in 1980 with the merger of the former University of Singapore and Nanyang University.) Singapore Polytechnic holds 196,000 volumes, and the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies holds 140,000.
The National Museum (formerly Raffles Museum), established in 1849, has collections of natural history, ethnology, and archaeology. Since 1965, it has also specialized in the art, culture, and way of life of Singapore's multiracial communities. The National Art Gallery, established in 1976, features works by the peoples of Southeast Asia, and is a part of the National Museum. The Art Museum and Exhibition Gallery of the National University of Singapore includes in its collections Asian art objects and contemporary Singaporean and Malaysian painting and textiles. The new Singapore Art Museum opened in 1996 with a permanent collection of more than 3,000 contemporary paintings and sculptures from Southeast Asian artists. The Asian Civilisations Museum, concerning ethnology, at Empress Place, opened in 2003 and is the largest museum in Singapore. The Lee Kong Chian Art Museum, the Centre of Fine Arts, and Singapore Science Center are also found in the city-state.