This educational institution was of great relevance for the capital of the New Spain. It was founded by the Jesuits in 1588, and by 1618 began operating under royal patronage to establish the Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso. The College was rebuilt in the early 18th century and is considered to be one of the most outstanding examples of civil architecture in Mexico City. In 1867, the building was put to use for the creation of the Escuela Nacional Preparatoria, which shortly later became part of the National University and unoccupied the building in 1978. The college then remained closed to the public for more than 10 years until it was restored to house the exhibition Mexico, Esplendores de 30 siglos . Since then, the building has been used for permanent and special exhibitions, educational services, the membership program, the volunteer group, guided tours and special events for the general public.