Sepia-tinted reprints of photographs featuring visits by Nobel laureates Rabindranath Tagore and C.V. Raman, late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, late President R. Radhakrishnan and various Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu figure among highlights of the milestone years in the Heritage Museum inaugurated on Wednesday by St. Joseph’s College in its heritage campus.
Named after Rev. Fr. Audibert, the first rector and principal who started ‘St Joseph’s Collegium’ in Nagapattinam in September 1844, under the auspices of Fathers of Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) with just one pupil in a small hut, the museum chronicles the college’s rise as an educational institution that had nurtured many students in southern India.
The college shifted to Tiruchi in 1883, from where it continues to function in its heritage campus in the Chathiram area. Former President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, an alumnus of the intermediate school and college from 1950-1954, has been commemorated with a special display. The museum talks about the history and origins of the buildings on its campus, such as the Lawley Hall, Clive’s House and the Indo-Gothic style Lourdes Church.
The Audibert museum, located near the Inigo Block, was blessed by Most Rev. Dr. S. Arockiaraj DD, STD, Bishop of Tiruchirapalli Diocese. Museum architect and designer Hermon Carduz and D. Augustus Manimaran were felicitated for their contribution to the project.
Rev. Dr. M. Arockiasamy Xavier SJ said ‘the college is a priceless treasure house of information, that brings a feeling of nostalgia among us about the 178 years of our history. It tells the world how this institution grew up gradually. This museum explains the sacrifices and achievements of those who have worked and studied here. It proudly proclaims to the world how it took part in the process of nation-building.’
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