Old College of San Ildefonso


It is considered one of the most important cultural spaces for the national life. The Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso is one of the most important colonial buildings in Mexico City historical center. The architectonical ensemble has three floors and it is composed of two areas: one with three patios and that belongs to the baroque period (XVIII century) and one built to the south of the aforementioned, which was erected between 1907 and 1931.

The Colegio de San Ildefonso was one of the most important educational institutions in the capital of the New Spain. It was founded by the Jesuits in 1588 to work as a seminar where the students of the Congregation lived. In 1618 it started to work under the royal board of trustees granted by Felipe III, and thus, the Royal and Oldest Colegio of San Ildefonso was established. At the beginning of the XVIIth century it was rebuilt, dando lugar to the construction we know today.

After the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1767, the building had diverse functions: quarters for a battalion of a regiment of Flandes, a college administered by the vice royal government and directed by the secular clergy, temporary site for the School of Law, some medicine chairs of the School of Medicine and quarter for the American and French troops in 1847 and 1862 respectively.

In 1867 the government of Benito Juárez started a reform in the field of education and in its institutions. Juárez founded the National Preparatory School, which was established in the Colegio of San Ildefonso. Its first principal/ director the doctor Gabino Barreda (1818-1881). In 1910, the National Preparatory School became part of the National University founded by Justo Sierra. This building is also known by its relevance within mural painting, because it is considered that on its walls the Mexican muralist movement started.  Paintings by Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros and José Clemente Orozco among others illustrate its walls. During more than six decades the school continued to be the cradle of several generations of intellectuals and outstanding personalities. In 1978 the building ceased to be the plantel Num. 1 for the ENP. The building was closed for the public until 1992, when it was restored to open its doors to the public with its current name, with the objective of being place for relevant temporary exhibitions to show and spread in this way, the archeological, historical and artistic heritage of Mexico and other cultures.

Since 1992 it is administered by a three part mandate integrated by the UNAM,the CONACULTA and the government of Mexico City. It has a library, a restaurant, a store, a cafeteria, areas for events and wardrobe. It offers guided visits, private visits, attention to school groups and to handicapped people and with volunteer service.


Justo Sierra 16, esquina con República de Argentina, Col. Centro (Área 3), Cuauhtémoc, C.P. 6020, México, Ciudad de México


From Wednesday to Sunday, 10:00 - 17:30 hrs.
martes, 10:00 - 19:30 hrs.




Maestros y estudiantes con credencial vigente $22.50, Cuando no hay exposición maestros y estudiantes con credencial vigente $10, Martes entrada libre.


Guide visits | Special visits | Store | First aids | Checkroom | Access for disabled people | Cultural events area | Café | Library | Attention to school groups | Stroller and baby carrier Access


Tel. (55) 5702 2991


December 14 2022

December 09 2022

December 03 2022

December 03 2022

December 01 2022

September 09 2022 to April 30 2023

September 09 2022 to April 30 2023

August 19 to December 19 2022