The Academy, the higher education institution, of the United States of the Ionian Islands was established in Corfu in 1824, thanks to the generosity of the English philhellene Frederic North, earl of Guilford, and to the initiative of the Ionian State. It has been the first University in the history of Modern Greek education. It comprised four schools: Law, Theology, Medicine and Philosophy (courses of natural sciences and mathematics were also taught). Later, the technology institution, the school of obstetrics and the school of pharmacy were established. In the schools of Theology and Philosophy taught well-known scholars, like Andreas Kalvos, Christoforos Filitas, Konstantinos Asopios, Theoklitos Farmakidis, Neofytos Vamvas, Petros Vrailas-Armenis and more. From the beginning of the 19th century and until the union of the Ionian Islands with modern Greece in 1864, when the Academy closed, a notable literary movement has begun. This movement contributed a lot in the spiritual enlightenment of the modern Greeks. The Academy was housed in an imposing three-story building in south-western side of Spianada square, which used to serve as barracks. After the death of Frederic North in 1827, the financial resources became limited and the decline of the Academy began. In 1864 it closed to support the newly established University of Athens. Some of the professors were hired in Athens, where it moved the Academy’s library, too. Since 1941, the building was hosting only the Municipal Library and the Junior High school, while in 1943 was burnt down by German bombardments. Half a century later, it was rebuilt for the needs of the Ionian University and it operates this way until today. In that building is housed the International and Public Relations Department, in 1 Kapodistriou Street.
It reopened in 1995 in the palace of Saint Michael and Saint George, core of the Historical museum of the city and of the entire island of Corfu. The works of the permanent exhibition of the Gallery consist doubtless evidence of the artistic and intellectual flourishing of the island. The biggest part of the collection of the Gallery includes works of Corfiot painters of the 19th century (Ch. Pachis, P. Prosalentis, A. Giallinas, V. Bokatsiampis, S. Skarvelis, L. Kogevinas, G. Samartzis) They are also exhibited collections of works mainly constituted by donated works (the Samartzis, the Papa, the Makotsis and the Ventouras collection) . The major trends in the works of Corfiot painters of the 19th century are not only related to the academic trends of that period, but are also related to the influence they were getting from Italian painting. In the late 19th century a turn of these artists to the Impressionism is noticed. The palace of Saint Michael and Saint George, where the Gallery along with the Museum of Asian Art are housed, was a work of the years 1819-1924. It consist an important monument of the period of the British occupation. It is one of the first buildings of neoclassical style in Greece. It was named “Place of Saint Michael and Saint George”, because the building was the home of the homonym Order. There were also the offices and the houses of the English Commissioners. Until the union of the Ionian Islands with Greece (1864) the palace was home of the Ionian Senate and Parliament. After 1864, it served as summer residence of the Greek royal family, while it housed the archaeological collection of Corfu.
Α neoclassical complex of buildings in Tsirigoti square, that today houses three departments of the Ionian University. The complex includes the Chalepas building, which was named after the distinguished Greek sculptor who was hospitalized here for quite a few years. The Former Asylum campus houses the Department of Audio and Visual Arts, the Department of Informatics and the Department of Foreign Languages Translation and Interpreting. The classes are being held in various wings of the buildings, including the areas where the kitchen and the rooms of the patients used to be. The main buildings which are being used in the complex are the Goussis building, the building of the Secretariats and the Aretaios building.
It is located in the Old Fortress, a notable work of defensive art and building technique. It was one of the most important defensive complexes in the Mediterranean between the 15th and the 18th century. It consist a separate place to stroll, while it hosts series of permanent and temporary cultural activities.