Author: National Museum of the Philippines

Saturday Learning at the National Museum Held

The National Museum of the Philippines (NMP) conducted an online learning activity for children of its employees.

To celebrate the 31st Library and Information Services Month and the 87th National Book Week, the NMP, through its Museum Services Division (MSD), organized an in-house interactive online learning activity entitled ‘Museum Treasures in A Shoebox.’  The activity serves as an extension of the museum’s public program with the intent of disseminating museum knowledge to its audiences, particularly the young learners. It was conceptualized with the goal of putting up engaging and inspiring activities while learning about the museum’s collections.  Since this is the pilot implementation, it particularly aspires to benchmark more similar activities in the future featuring various museum objects catering to different members of society.

The concept is basically making use of old shoe boxes as learning kits where materials and other learning aids are packed and put together for the children.  In its initial offering, the Museum Treasures in A Shoebox featured the oldest known writing tradition of the Filipinos known as the Baybayin.  Thirty participants were given a shoe box kit and were taught about the Baybayin through different enjoyable activities such as lecture, Baybayin writing demonstration and workshop, and bookmark making activity.

Ms. Sherina Aggarao, researcher from the Archaeology Division gave an introductory lecture about the Baybayin.  She taught the kids the Baybayin characters and symbols, its sounds and meanings and showed some archaeological items found in the museum bearing Baybayin scripts.  She ended her lecture with a short activity by asking the participants to write their names in Baybayin.  After the lecture, the children explored their creativity by making their own versions of bookmarks where their names are written.  They were asked to choose between night and day as their bookmark theme.

In the afternoon, Ms. Melanie Ramirez, a resident story-teller of the NMP graced the activity and narrated the story of ‘Sinag at Tala’ by Joanna Que.  The activity ended with a short video tour of the NMP’s Central Library as it is about to re-open to the public.

The NMP would like to thank the children participants for actively and enthusiastically participating in the first ever Museum Treasures in A Shoebox program.  Watch out for the succeeding features and activities under this program.

#MuseumFromHome

#MuseumTreasures

#PhilippineCulture

#NationalMuseumPh

National Museum to host Philippine International Quincentennial Conference Session 9 on December 2

The National Museum of the Philippines (NMP) is hosting the Philippine International Quincentennial Conference (PIQC) Session 9, with the theme Year of Filipino Pre-Colonial Ancestors, on December 2, 2021, 9AM to 3PM. The online conference will be streamed at www.nqc.gov.ph and NQC’s official Facebook Page and YouTube channel (@nqc2021) as well as on the NMP official Facebook pages and YouTube channel. Interested participants may register thru this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_CwrndgsESJmRAdn7ZBPqag

The PIQC Session 9, entitled “Coming Full Circle in the Philippines: Climate Change, Environmental Shifts and Evidence of Human Adaptation” will highlight the National Museum’s recent studies on the material culture found in National Collections, particularly in Ethnology and Archaeology and Underwater Cultural Heritage. It has also welcomed the contribution of two eminent National Museum Research Associates, Dr. John Peterson and Dr. Michael Canilao.

According to NMP Director-General Jeremy Barns, the papers to be presented in this session will tackle the evidence of Philippines’ precolonial past revealed through comprehensive research on the artifacts and life of communities in different regions of the country.

Dr. Peterson, who is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of San Carlos in Cebu and Research Associate of the National Museum, is the keynote speaker. He is likewise the president of International Council on Monuments and Sites-International Committee on Archaeological Heritage Management. His presentation entitled, “Climate Change in the Philippines and Shaping the Field of Anthropology and Biogeography”, will discuss the impact of climate change and environmental shifts to the way of life of precolonial settlers in the islands.

To be presented by its respective lead authors are the following papers: “Ancient Boats and Their Contemporary Permutations in the Philippines’ South” by Bobby C. Orillaneda, et.al., “The Banton Cloth: Examining Its Source, Manufacture, and Use” by Marites Paz-Tauro, et.al., “Pre-colonial North Luzon Trade and Exchange” by Dr. Michael Canilao et.al., “Cagayan-Kalinga Sites Nexus Indicating Ancient Habitation” by Marian Reyes-Magloyuan et.al., and “Pula at Bughaw: Shades of an Emerging Nation” by Dr. Marrianne Ubalde et.al.

Orillaneda is a Senior Museum Researcher and the officer-in-charge of the NMP Maritime and Underwater Cultural Heritage Division. Paz-Tauro is Curator and the officer-in-charge of NMP Ethnology Division. Reyes-Magloyuan and Ubalde are NMP’s Senior Museum Researchers of the National Museum of Anthropology.

Dr. Ana Maria Theresa P. Labrador, NMP Deputy Director-General for Museums and the lead convener and chairperson of the NMP PIQC, said the session aims to spark curiosity and raise questions among our audiences, such as historians, educators, researchers, and other members of the public using a material culture lens to view and understand evidence pertaining to precolonial Philippines. “As we continuously define our identity, these papers support the efforts of scholars who assert the Filipino perspective in interpreting our history and in highlighting our heritage or the notion of pamana ng lahing Filipino,” said Dr. Labrador.

Meanwhile, the National Quincentennial Committee leads the PIQC. The Conference’s theme “Situating the Filipino and the Philippines in 1521” revisits the place of early Filipinos and the Philippines prior to the Spanish colonization in 1521. The PIQC sessions started in October and will last until December 17. Papers presented in this conference will be published as a legacy of the 2021 Quincentennial Commemorations in the Philippines.

For more information, please contact Rochelle-Van Reyes of NMP Communications and External Affairs Section at rochelle.reyes@nationalmuseum.gov.ph or call at 82981100 loc 1099.

17th to early 20th century National Fine Arts Collection “Madonna with Angels”

This week’s #ArtStrollSunday series focusing on the 17th to early 20th century art from the National Fine Arts Collection features Francesco Ricardo Monti’s “Madonna with Angels” (ca. 1946).

“Madonna with Angels” by Francesco Ricardo Monti is a plaster relief created circa 1946. In this relief, Monti depicts the Madonna without the infant Jesus. There are angels and cherubs all around her in glory. Her long robe flows down past her feet, and a big halo surrounds her head. Her face is calm, her eyes are closed, her body is straight, and her arms are wide open as if suspended in the air. Above her is a large scroll with the written words “As Angels In Some Brighter Dreams Call To The Soul When Man Doth Sleep.” Monti was commissioned to create this work for a private mortuary chapel in Manila after World War II. The relief was donated to the National Museum of the Philippines in 2013 as a Gift of the Heirs of Petronilo L. del Rosario, Sr. It is displayed at the National Museum of Fine Arts in the President Sergio Osmeña Function Hall.

Francesco Ricardo Monti (1888-1958) was an Italian sculptor from Cremona who lived and worked in the Philippines from 1930 until his death in 1958. He studied at the Institute of Ponzone for Decorative Arts and Technology and the Academy of Fine Arts. In 1928, he left Cremona, seeking greener pastures for his art. This happened a month after joining a design competition for the Caduti Austrio-Ungheresi Monument. The organizers denied him the recognition of first place award and the art commission even though a local newspaper had reported that his design won. He went to different parts of Europe and reached New York, where he met Architect Juan M. Arellano (1888-1960), who invited him to the Philippines. Monti worked with Arellano during the design of the Metropolitan Theater in Manila in 1930 by creating sculptures that adorn the theater’s main lobby and façade. He also assisted National Artist for Sculpture Guillermo E. Tolentino (1890-1976) in his masterpiece The Bonifacio Monument in Caloocan, inaugurated in 1933. Monti started teaching at the University of Santo Tomas in 1948 alongside National Artists for Visual Arts, namely Victorio Edades (1895-1985), Carlos Francisco (1912-1969), Vicente Manansala (1910-1981) as well as notable painter Galo Ocampo (1913-1985). Later he was commissioned to adorn the façade of the Santo Domingo Church in Quezon City, inaugurated in 1954 and designed by National Artist for Architecture Jose Maria Zaragoza (1912-1994). Monti met a car accident resulting in internal injuries that took his life on August 11, 1958. While he was alive, he never forgot to show his appreciation for the country that opened its doors for him during the lowest point of his career and became his home for the last 25 years. 

We are now open! To visit the National Museum of Fine Arts (NMFA), you may book a tour through this website. Please note the guidelines for visiting. You may also view the 360 degrees virtual tour of select NMFA galleries on the link https://www.nationalmuseum.gov.ph/nmfa360/HTML5/NMFA360.html. See you at the National Museum!

#ArtStrollSunday

#FrancescoMonti

#BeatCOVID19

Text and photo by NMP-FAD

© National Museum of the Philippines (2021)

Managing the Museum Collections During the Pandemic: An overview of some conservation measures done at NMP

Installation of customized acid-free polyester film sheets under each specimen to serve as protective layer from the painted mounting systems at the Lumad Mindanao gallery

How were the collections during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic? How are they now?

Mechanical cleaning of accumulated surface dirt on the mats on display at the Entwined Spheres: Mats and Baskets as Containers, Conveyors and Costumes gallery

For this week’s #MuseumFromHome series, we would like to share some of the challenges faced by the #NationalMuseumPH at the onset of the pandemic.

Placing packs of silica gels inside showcases to reduce moisture at the Faith, Tradition and Place: Bangsamoro Art Gallery

Last year, the government declared Enhanced Community Quarantine from 17 March until the end of May, resulting in alternative work arrangements for the period of State of National Emergency.  

Cleaning and restoration of some broken objects exhibited at the Faith, Tradition and Place: Bangsamoro Art Gallery

A skeleton workforce was tasked to monitor the collections but the regular maintenance of the galleries, collections, and exhibition collaterals every Monday was not conducted for the period, resulting in accumulation of dust and pest infestation. Mold growth was also observed due to inconsistent humidity levels and high temperature. Collection maintenance became a matter of concern in the early days of the pandemic with some studies stating that the coronavirus lives on surfaces for an unknown period of time. However, we had to act in order to preserve the collections while observing health protocols.

Photo-documentation of objects before and after cleaning

To ensure that collections exhibited in the eight (8) galleries and two (2) repositories at the National Museum of Anthropology under the care of the Ethnology Division are maintained, two (2) teams working in alternating weekly schedules were created to work from home and report physically. From July to December 2020, the two (2) teams performed the necessary preventive conservation measures and maintenance of five (5) galleries, while the other three (3) galleries were scheduled for January to September 2021, amidst a series of hard lockdowns in February, March, and August 2021. All objects and systems were inspected for possible mold growth and presence of pests, and their condition was assessed for conservation measures. Glass and wooden panels including pedestals were thoroughly cleaned to prevent pest re-infestation. This major gallery maintenance also became an opportunity to improve the displays by replacing objects that are fragile, reprinting worn out caption cards, developing mounts to ensure the stability of objects on pedestals, and to conduct further research or validation on collections.

Thorough removal of molds from objects using wet and dry swabbing

This pandemic has taught us a lot about the importance of disaster preparedness, collections management and conservation, and how to plan for the unplanned. At present, we are delighted to see visitors, albeit fewer than before, enjoying the exhibitions especially those that were opened last year amidst the pandemic. Click here to learn more about our collections: https://www.nationalmuseum.gov.ph/our-collections/ethnology/

Opening of showcases, preventive conservation, and mechanical cleaning of accumulated surface dirt

#PreventiveConservation

#BeatCOVID19

Text and photos by the NMP Ethnology Division
© The National Museum of the Philippines (2021)

Graphite Schist

Hello Friday! Hello #DignayanBiyernes!

This week we feature a metamorphic rock specifically called graphite schist. Find out below how it differs from other schists we posted before.

Schists are metamorphic rocks whose minerals are arranged in such a way that they would fragment into thin plates or flakes. This is called schistosity. Typically, schist is composed of flat platy minerals like mica, talc, chlorite, and graphite. In samples where graphite is the most abundant or the dominant mineral present, the schist is more properly identified as graphite schist. Graphite is a mineral consisting of carbon and is usually iron black to steel grey. This is also the dominant color for graphite schists.

The specimen featured here was collected from San Vicente, Palawan by the Geology and Paleontology Division of the #NationalMuseumPH in 2015. This metamorphic rock belongs to the Cretaceous (145-66 million years old) Caramay Schist which is one of the oldest rock formations in Palawan. Fresh rock samples of this specimen have a sub-metallic luster but weathered samples appear silver gray. An analysis of its composition and structure very much suggests that it was once a sedimentary rock a very long time ago. Graphite schists in this locality were observed to form layers with varying thickness, ranging from less than 1 cm to tens of meters thick.

Your National Museum of Natural History and all museums at the NMP Complex are now welcoming guests of all ages. Book your tour now through this website.

#MuseumFromHome

Text and image by the NMP Geology and Paleontology Division

© National Museum of the Philippines (2021)

Effects of Climate Change in Plants

As your #NationalMuseumPH joins the world in the observance of Global Warming Consciousness Week, let’s learn in today’s #WildlifeWednesday the effect of the changing climate to plants.

Climate change is mainly caused by our actions with the emission of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels for our daily needs. Deforestation and modern agricultural practices aggravate climate change. This accumulation of gasses generates changes of temperatures and weather patterns that affect natural ecological processes of an ecosystem. The sudden changes affect many plants and animals that have limited elevational range and unique microhabitat conditions.

Our farmers need to act fast to cope up with climate change. With the change of weather patterns, farmers need to adjust with the planting season and develop plant varieties that are adaptable to droughts or flooding. In many areas, flowering of plants and life cycle of pollinators are not coinciding which will result in less production of crops.

With the increasing temperature, polar ice caps and glaciers are melting at an alarming rate that causes sea level rising. As the global sea level rises, many habitats and ecosystems are affected, especially the coastal areas. Low-lying islands are all at risk of this situation and beach forest in this island will later die off. 

Plant diversity in the high mountains of the tropical regions were the most affected by climate change. The change of precipitation, moisture and temperature will alter the phenology of the plant and affect the migration and life cycle of its pollinators. Cold-adapted plants species of the tropical mountains may be directly affected by the warmer climates. Warn-tolerant species might display them as they encroach up towards the mountain slopes. Native and endemic plants especially from the tropical islands with high mountains are the most vulnerable to this with the presence of alien invasive species. 

The increased level of CO2 will lead plants to decrease water consumption for photosynthesis. However, due to the warming of the planet, plants will eventually need more time to grow and consume water, thus eventually drying up the land. Also, plants in hotter environments may grow larger leaves that could create more surface area for more evaporation that will affect precipitation, runoffs and soil moisture.

In spite of all these, everyone can take part to slow down the effects of climate change. From using our electricity properly, taking a walk or a bike for a short destination, and eating food with less carbon footprint. Each of our individual micro efforts will have great macro effects on our environment.

Text and poster by the NMP Botany and National Herbarium Division.