The Planetarium Division
It all started with a heavenly vision. n 1970, the Philippine Astronomical Society (PAS), the only astronomical club in the country, persuaded then National Museum Director Godofredo Alcasid, Sr. to put up a planetarium or space museum in Manila. The project required an initial allocation of US$100,000 which was obtained from the Japanese Reparation Program.
Then First Lady Imelda R. Marcos, a benefactor of the National Museum, became immensely interested with the project that towards the end of 1974 construction of the building had begun and fabrication of the Planetarium Projector by Japanese engineers was finished before the middle of 1975. Cognizant of the need to have an astronomy expert to head the Planetarium, Director Alcasid requested Dr. Roman L. Kintanar, Director of Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) for the transfer of Mr. Maximo P. Sacro, Jr., an original member of the Philippine Astronomical Society (PAS).
The National Museum Planetarium was formally inaugurated on October 8, 1975. Affirming 'its establishment was Presidential Decree No. 804A that was issued on September 30, 1975. The Planetarium's primary function is to disseminate astronomical information through planetarium shows, lectures, demonstrations, exhibits and actual celestial observations. The unique feature of the Planetarium is the true-to-life showing of astronomical bodies that captures the interest and tickles the imagination of viewers.
Desirous of reaching out to more Filipino audiences, the National Museum offered free public programs at the Planetarium, under the generous sponsorship of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes. Locally produced and canned planetarium programs complemented by science films loaned from US and Canadian Embassies were presented, and these included: Voyager of the Universe; Cosmos, Voyage to the Star; Skywatchers of Ancient Mexico; Alien Odyssey; Taurus, the Bull; and, Star of Bethlehem.
After 16 successful and productive years of operation, the space museum suffered a major disaster when the inner dome of the Planetarium, which also served as the screen, collapsed in June 1991. This fateful event led to the temporary closure of the Planetarium as employees were detailed with different divisions of the National Museum.