The National Museum of the Philippines is a century and two decades old this month

The National Museum is celebrating its 120th Foundation Anniversary on October 29.

The NMP traces its history to the establishment of the Museo-Biblioteca de Filipinas on Aug. 12, 1887. However, the direct precursor of the National Museum was the establishment of the Insular Museum of Ethnology, Natural History and Commerce by the Philippine Commission on October 29, 1901. 

Over the century, the National Museum has evolved and has been continuously evolving – now being the repository of important National Collections in the fields of Fine Arts, Natural History and Anthropology, venue of important permanent exhibitions and educational programs, and one of the leading institutions in scientific research in the country. 

“During the pandemic, the National Museum has maximized the digital platforms to reach wider audiences not only to supplement the needs of the Filipino learners but also to comfort the population confined in their homes due to quarantine restrictions,” said Director-General Jeremy Barns. 

He added, “We have made available virtual exhibitions and offered virtual tours, provided educational materials and e-learning resources for everyone to access, and hosted webinars on various topics to engage the public. Amid these, it also ensured that built heritage structures under its care are protected and preserved.”

The National Museum manages four flagship museums that are all located in the National Museum Complex in Manila – National Museum of Fine Arts, National Museum of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, and National Planetarium. 

Republic Act 11333 or the National Museum of the Philippines Act signed on April 26, 2019 strengthened the mandate of the institution in the management and development of museums and collections of national importance in field of arts, cultural heritage, and natural history. The law enabled the museum to become more responsive to the 21st century and needs and demands of its stakeholders.

The National Museum is also expanding its presence nationwide to make itself accessible to all Filipinos. To date, there are 14 regional, area and sites museums in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. 

The National Museum recognizes that not all Filipinos have access to this digital information, thus, it has recently partnered with ICCROM in the project “Pambansang Museo sa Barangay” to bring its collections and educational programs to the communities in the fringes. 

Meanwhile, check out the upgraded website of the National Museum to access virtual exhibits and 360 virtual tours of galleries of select museums by clicking on this link: https://www.nationalmuseum.gov.ph. 

About the NMP’s 120th logo: It features a representation of the façade of the National Museum of Fine Arts (Old Legislative Building) facing the Padre Burgos Avenue. On its pediment are sculptures by Otto Fischer-Credo, circa 1925, which also stands for the part of the building that remained standing after the Battle of Manila in 1945. 

In between corinthian columns’ capital, symbolic human figures represent people that have shored up the Museum all these years. People – employees, visitors, stakeholders and donors – have defined the Museum, not just its buildings. The inside of the 0 of the 120th year bears the emblem of the NMP, which is a stylized Baybayin of the first syllable of pamana, which means heritage that encompasses both tangible and intangible collections, which we look after on behalf of the nation.