July 31, 2014 
 
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Making Museums: The Development of Philippine Museums from 1901-1998
Eric Babar Zerrudo
Articles
Introduction

       The "mouseion" of the Greeks laid the fundamental concept for a "museum" as a place for education and enjoyment since its first creation in their society long time ago. Throughout the centuries, the museum concept transformed in purpose and practice according to different societal context. Later, when the International Council of Museums (ICOM) was established in 1946, members who were museum workers finally adopted the definition of "museum" as a "non-profit, permanent institution, in the service of society and of its development and open to the public."

       Museum development in the Philippines in the past ninety-eight years was conditioned by various societal and environmental factors. A government edict was instrumental in the establishment of a national museum at the turn of the century. The war years destroyed historic buildings that housed valuable collections and almost obliterated Philippine material culture. Private initiatives through personal and corporate collections enriched heritage stewardship. The Martial Law period encouraged high art and started a museum fever all over the country. In recent years, community museums emerged with the realization that museums are effective sources of education, entertainment and empowerment.

       In reviewing the development of Philippine museums, various questions have to be addressed. What are the major periods that trace Philippine museum development? What were the existing societal, environmental and artistic conditions during these periods? What type of museums emerged under these conditions? What were the changes that occurred in museum organization? What has been the trend in Philippine museum development in the past 98 years?

        Undoubtedly the oldest museum in the country, the UST Museum of Arts and Sciences can lay claim to more than 100 years of existence. When the University of Santo Tomas, itself founded in 1611, was setting up its Faculty of Medicine, it had to comply with the prerequisite that it included a Gabinete de Fisica. The Gabinete was to contain what were called materia medica- mineral, plant and animal specimens possessing medical properties. Thus, the establishment of the Faculty of Medicine in 1871 may also be considered the beginning of the UST Museum.

1901-1940: A Moving Legacy

       The first government museum in the Philippines was established during the American colonial policy of public education. In 1901, the Department of Public Instruction, passed through Act. No. 74 of the Philippine Commission, was directed to supervise a centralized and secular public school system, and open a public school in each municipality of the islands. Likewise, a normal school and agricultural trade school was to be opened in Manila. In the same year, a group of 600 American volunteer arrives in Manila aboard USS Thomas to serve as teachers in the various public schools all over the islands. In 1904, the Philippine Commission sent a delegation of 50 Filipino Commissioners to the Louisiana Purchase Expo or World Fair at St. Louis, Missouri USA. Native Filipinos along with an exhibit of Philippine products and replicas of ethnic villages were displayed at the said exposition.

       The introduction of American culture brought about the sudden modernization in Filipino cities, especially Manila. And with these changes, artists turned their attention anew to what was characteristic of the Philippines. Fabian de la Rosa and Fernando Amorsolo, two genre painters, formed the mainstream of Philippine art in the first quarter of the twentieth century. The second quarter was dominated by the Modernist movement that evolved through American education. According to Brenda Fajardo’s discussion of Philippine art history, "because of the benevolent assimilation policy of America, scholarship grants to study in the United States became available to Filipinos. Three of those who came back brought the experience of modern art to the country. Juan Arellano, architect-painter, who designed the Manila Post Office and buildings of that period, was also an impressionist painter; Diosdado Lorenzo came back from Italy painting with a brush thickly laden with paint; and Victorio Edades, referred to as the "father of modern art in the Philippines," brought information about post-impressionist painting in the 1920s." Victorio Edades with his pupils Carlos "Botong" Francisco and Galo Ocampo, dubbed as the "Triumvirate of Modern Art", created numerous murals to advertise the advent of a new style. He also played a leading role by instilling the concepts of modernism in the next generation of artists called the "Thirteen Moderns."

       Art collecting was dominated by American colonial officials in the 1920s. Distinguished ceramic collectors, who were aided by noted university anthropologist H. Otley Beyer in porcelain sites, were Dean C. Worcester, W.C. Forbes, A.V. Hartendorp and Governor Shauger. Members of the Philippine Antiquarian Society were also avid collectors. Among the prominent member of this group were Don Michael Goldenberg (stamp collection), Don Jose Bantug (santos collection), Don Felipe Hidalgo (santos, paintings and European antiques collection), and Don Alfonso Ongpin (painting and old Filipino writings collection).

       Under this condition of American benevolent assimilation, the early patent for a national museum was drawn. The National Museum started in 1901 as the Insular Museum of Ethnology, Natural History and Commerce under the Department of Public Instruction by virtue of Act 284 passed by the Philippine Commission. The name was changed in 1903 to Bureau of Ethnological Survey, under the Department of Interior. After the St. Louis Exposition in 1904 the Office was renamed the Philippine Museum. The Bureau of Ethnological Survey which has a division called the Philippine Museum was abolished as a separate bureau and was made merely a Division of Ethnology under the Bureau of Education by virtue of Act No. 1407. In1906, the Philippine Commission transferred the Division of Ethnology of the Bureau of Education to the Bureau of Science which had other branches of natural science such as botany, geology and paleontology, entomology, ichthyology, herpetology and mammalogy.

       In 1916, the Philippine legislature passed Act No. 2572 organizing the Philippine Library and Museum from the former division of archives, patents, copyrights, trademarks and corporations of the executive bureaus; former law library of the Philippine Assembly and the former Philippine Library. The division of Ethnology continued to function under the Bureau of Science. In 1926, Act. No. 3437 passed by the Philippine Legislature recreated the National Museum of the Philippines being of the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources and consisted of the Ethnology Division and Division of History and Fine Arts. The Division of Natural Sciences was not included in the organization.

       Again in 1933,the Philippine Legislature passed Act No. 4007 abolishing the National Museum and distributing its activities, functions and materials to the following:

  1. The Division of Fine Arts and History with the National Library;
  2. The Ethnology Division to remain with the Bureau of Science;
  3. The Division of Anthropology which included archeology, ethnography and physical anthropology and other sections in natural history of the Bureau of Science were organized into National Museum Division.

       In 1939,an administrative order renamed the division as the Natural History Museum Division. Then Commonwealth Act No. 453 made the Division an independent unit directly under the office of the Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce.

       This period of moving legacy attempted to define the organization of a fledgling national museum. The collection literally moved from one edifice to another. And the museum’s organizational structure transferred to innumerable government departments- a tedious bureaucratic process of merging, detaching, and consolidating. The end of the period witnessed the gradual autonomy of the museum with a very rich collection of Philippine material culture.

1940-1945: Heritage Lost

       In 1942, the Japanese Forces entered Manila without resistance. With their entry, General Homma, Japanese Commander-in-Chief, announced the end of the American occupation and imposed martial law. Three years after, American forces landed in Lingayen, Pangasinan which began the liberation of the islands.

       The outbreak of the World War II shocked Filipinos more than any other event. The events motivated Amorsolo who had been regarded as a conservative artist. Amorsolo braced danger as he documented scenes of ruined Manila with his brush.

       Valuable collections of private individuals were destroyed during the war. The multimillion stamp collection of Don Michael Goldenberg burned down while the santos collection of Don Jose Bantug perished.

       The Japanese occupation saw the abolition of the Natural History Museum Division. More than this, the Liberation of Manila destroyed  95% of the museum’s collection holdings, almost obliterating the rich material culture of the country. In 1945, the Museum was reestablished under the Department of Agriculture and Commerce and placed it under the office of the Executive Secretary.

       This watershed period in Philippine museum history affirms war’s destructive toll on a nation’s cultural heritage and patrimony. Rare and valuable collections of private individuals and the museum were destroyed. Only memories of colleagues and surviving documents could recall the existence of these extinct collections.

1945-1965: Reconstructing the Past

       The post war era was highlighted by the granting of "independence" to the Philippines by the Americans on July 4, 1946. With the advent of the cold war years, Philippine national security was heavily dependent on American military forces. Thus, the Military Bases Agreement was signed in 1947 and the Mutual Defense Treaty in 1951. American CIA operatives worked closely with the Philippine government to eradicate socialist leaning Huk movement in Central Luzon.

       The era focused on national pride and regional alliances. The MAPHILINDO was conceived to organize Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia, Southeast Asian countries with common histories and heritage. In 1956, the Rizal Bill was passed into law, providing for compulsory reading of Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo an all universities and colleges in the Philippines. 1958, the National Economic Council passed Resolution No. 204 officially promulgating the "Filipino First" Policy. This was the adoption of guidelines giving professional treatment to Filipinos in establishing commercial and industrial enterprises.

       After World War II, artists developed a keen interest in expressive idioms. They adopted the techniques of abstract painting and used different approaches to create original works of art. New developments also occurred in the artist environment.

       The Art Association of the Philippines, established in 1948 by Purita Kalaw Ledesma, was the first organization of national visual artists. In its competitions, modern expressions began to gain headway which led to the walk out of conservative artists in the 1950s. Later, these conservative artists would establish themselves in small studio-galleries along Mabini street where tourists went that they were referred to as ‘Mabini Artists’.

       The Philippine Art Gallery (PAG), established by writer-painter Lyd Arguilla in 1950, nurtured the seed of modern art in the Philippines. In this small shop in Ermita street, artists and writers would see each other regularly.

       Pottery collecting was at its infancy in the 1950s. Dr. Robert Fox, National Museum anthropologist, published the "Calatagan Excavations" after the 1958 Batangas diggings. Instantly, people realized the richness of pre-Spanish culture and began buying some porcelain and earthen wares. In 1961, architect Leandro Locsin and his wife Cecile systematically began excavating Sta. Ana which yielded Sung and Yuan pieces, spotted Chin P’ai and exquisite celadons. In the mid 60s, the "great Laguna pot rush" brought diggers, collectors, treasure hunters, anthropologists and enthusiasts to contiguous barrios in Laguna to excavate. Amidst all these, the National Museum was left in the background because of its chronic lack of funds for excavations.

       Efforts toward cultural heritage preservation was gradually being consolidated after the war. In 1951, Executive Order No. 392 transferred the National Museum to the Department of Education. In another front, the Philippine Historical Committee, forerunner of the National Historical Institute, began to open major historic sites and landmarks in the 1950s.

       One of the early landmark in Metro Manila was the Quezon Memorial in Quezon City. Upon Quezon’s death in 1944, a committee was created to generate funds for a memorial in his honor. A competition was held for the best design which was won by Federico Ilustre. Work commenced in 1952 which included the triad structure and museum. In 1953, the Fort Santiago building where the national hero Jose Rizal was incarcerated was inaugurated by President Elpidio Quirino and opened to the public. In 1960, the Mabini Shrine, a small nipa hut that was once home to Apolinario Mabini, the Brains of the Revolution, located at the foot of the Nagtahan bridge on the north bank of the Pasig river, was moved to the south bank for public access. In 1964, the Aguinaldo Mansion in Kawit, Cavite, site of the historic proclamation of Philippine Independence on June 12, 1898 was declared a national shrine shortly after the death of General Emilio Aguinaldo.

       University museums, often borne out of private donations or discoveries from excavations, were established to serve as reference centers to various course curricula. In 1951, the University of Southern Philippines (Cebu) established a Filipiniana and historical museum through its Vice-President Escolastico Duterte. The University of San Carlos Biological Museum (Cebu), a natural history museum, was begun in 1952 under the guidance of Fr. Enrique Schoenig, an SVD German priest, who was an entomologist. The University of Nueva Caceres Museum (Camarines Sur), a Filipiniana and ethnographic museum, was the first museum established in Southern Luzon, founded by Dr. Jaime Hernandez in 1952. The Ateneo Art Gallery (Manila), a modern art museum, was established in1960 as an adjunct to the Jesuit run Ateneo de Manila University. It was set up around a core of paintings donated by the late artist Fernando Zobel de Ayala.

       One of the earliest private museum was the Lopez Memorial Museum. It was established on February 13, 1960 by Don Eugenio Lopez Sr. to honor his parents, house his private collection and serve scholars and students. The museum holds one of the country’s finest collection of art and Filipiniana materials.

       The period of reconstructing the past highlighted the various efforts to gradually consolidate Philippine material culture that were lost during the war. Government agencies established historic landmarks. Artists experimented on modern international styles along with conservative schools. Collectors dared to unearth the richness of Philippine landscape and ancestry. It was a new beginning for cultural discovery.

1965-1986: Patronizing the Arts

       The Marcos era was a period of unrest, martial rule and suppression. Since Marcos’ ascendancy to power in 1965, political and student rallies dominated the national scene. In 1969, Jose Ma. Sison’s revolutionaries merged with Bernabe Buscayno’s Huk army to form the New People’s Army (NPA). With the rising incidence of political unrest in the country, President Marcos signed Proclamation 1081on September 21, 1972 placing the Philippines under Martial Law.

       The years of living dangerously evolved underground art movements. In response to the growing crises, the period 1970 to 1972 saw the formation of militant art organizations, the growth of protest and revolutionary art. After the declaration of Martial Law in 1972, the Kaisahan (Unity) led the movement into political art linked with revolutionary aspiration of the Filipino people. On the latter part of Marcos years, Abay (Artista ng Bayan) emerged where formally and non-formally trained visual artists would collectively paint large works called murals or three-dimensional pieces which were used in the street rallies or "parliament of the streets."

       Simultaneously, the tradition of western modern movement dominated the 70s. Artists advocated surrealism, minimalism, geometric abstraction and magic realism. Modern art began to have a following among private collectors.

       In the mid 60s, the climate for antique collecting was ripe. People longed for cultural snobbism and high art. " For by then collecting had become fair game for a wide spectrum of enthusiasts who collected for love or mania, for speculation or as sure hedge against inflation, or simply because it was fashionable and everyone was doing it". At this point, distinguished collectors have began to lend their valuable art collections to major institutions for exhibition. The exquisite ceramic collection of Arturo de Santos was loaned to the CCP Museum in 1968; the extensive religious art collection of Don Luis Ma. Araneta went to the San Agustin Museum in 1973; the antique furniture collection of D. M. Guevarra was donated to the Central Bank Museo ng Buhay Pilipino in 1978.

       The martial law years also witnessed the flourishing of high art and society patrons. With the First Lady Imelda Marcos, as Patroness of the Arts, endorsing innumerable cultural infrastructure projects and activities, institutions mushroomed all over the archipelago. In 1968, the Cultural Center of the Philippines was created through Executive Order No. 30 as a "trust for the benefit of the Filipino People, for the purpose of preserving and promoting Philippine culture in all its varied aspects." In 1972, Presidential Decree No. 15 was issued transforming the CCP into a non-municipal public corporation tasked not only with maintaining theaters and music halls but also with discovering and developing artistic talents; awakening "the consciousness of our people to our cultural heritage", encouraging them to assist in its preservation, promotion, enhancement and development"; and cultivating and enhancing "public interest in and appreciation of, distinctive Philippine arts in various fields". In 1974, the Folk Arts Theater was built in time for the Miss Universe Pageant. In 1976, the Philippine International Convention Center was built for the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Governors’ Meeting. The Film Center was built in record time to accommodate the Manila International Film Festival in 1983.

       Government museums were built at various levels and opened to introduce the arts to the masses. The CCP Museum opened in 1969 highlighting a collection of Philippine art. The Central Bank Money Museum opened in 1974 under the stewardship of Governor Gregorio Licaros, showcasing a connoisseur’s collection of coins, bills and medals from the Philippines and abroad. The Metropolitan Museum of Manila (MMM) opened in 1976 to exhibit non-Philippine art. Its sister museum was the Museum of Philippine Art (MOPA) which opened also in 1976, to focus on Philippine visual arts. In 1978, the Museo ng Buhay Pilipino, located in the Central Bank Quezon City Complex, formally opened exhibiting the furniture collection of the D. M. Guevarra Foundation. In 1979, the Intramuros Administration was created through a presidential decree tasked to preserve and revive the culture of Old Manila. The Intramuros Administration is in-charge of a museum complex comprised of the Casa Manila, Museum and the Puerta de Isabel Gallery.

       Museums in the local government levels featuring history and ethnographic collection of the locality multiplied in number. In 1969, the province of Iloilo through Governor Conrado Norada donated a 2,000 square meter lot on the provincial capitol to the Board of Travel and Tourist Industry (BTTI) which eventually housed the Museo Iloilo. In 1970, the Benguet Provincial Board formed a committee on culture headed by Governor Palispis that established the Benguet Museum. The Cagayan Museum, a division under the Governor’s office was conceived by Hon. Teresa Dupaya in 1971 and opened to the public two years later. The Museo de La Union was constructed and completed in 1979 as a repository of the rich cultural and historical artifacts gathered in the province of La Union. The Museo Iloko was the former presidencia of Agoo town, La Union which was restored by the Philippine Tourism Authority in1981.

       Military and Police museums were formed to boost the morale and strengthen the military machinery. In 1974, the Philippine Air Force Museum, the Philippine Constabulary-Integrated National Police (PC-INP) Museum and the Western Police District Museum were established. The Philippine Navy Museum was inaugurated in 1978 in Cavite City while the Philippine Army Museum opened in 1979 in Fort Bonifacio.

       Early initiative for a corporate museum was shown by the Ayala Museum of Philippine History and Iconographic Archives. The concept of the museum was to provide a visual tour of Philippine history under one roof. Thus, intricately executed dioramas of the 60 most important historical events in the country were assembled. The Museum, a project of the Filipinas Foundation Inc. was established in 1967. In 1974, the dioramas were moved to its present site which has become a landmark in Makati.

       This period of art patronage was the boom of Philippine museums, in number, quality and diversity. Cultural efforts of national government institutions were emulated by local and community organizations that gave rise to museums all over the islands. Even in this era of repression, the arts flourished, collectors celebrated and everybody tried to look "cultured". In the end, the museums’ proclivity to high art without popular audience support led to many museums’ extinction and rehabilitation.

1986-1998: Museums for All

       On February 25, 1986, Corazon Aquino took her oath as the duly elected president of the Philippines in Club Filipino. It was the height of the EDSA Revolution that restored democracy and freedom to the Filipino people. Based on this new latitude of democratic ideals, government policies were reformatted to accommodate the role of the people.

       Soon after the People Power Revolution of 1986, President Corazon Aquino ordered that the Malacañang Palace be opened to the public as a museum. After 20 years of being off limits to the public, the palace has naturally become an object of curiosity to many Filipinos. The Malacañang Palace has been the official residence of Chief Executives of the Philippines since1863 holding treasures of Philippine and foreign art.

       The 80s art scene ushered the advent of conceptual art -installations, photographic collages, constructions and performance art. It also witnessed more experimental use of indigenous materials with the effort to expand the artist's resources. Even with these new experimentations, the trend was described by Professor Emmanuel Torres as "a recapitulation of the old controversy of the conservatives and the moderns with the "conservatives" in the upper hand this time and the "moderns" at the other side. …This is a different matter altogether since times have changed- conditions, nuances and the level of aesthetics more complex than before".

       Antique collecting of this period was beset with ethical and economic problems. The increase in the number of antique dealers has resulted in skyrocketing of prices and the proliferation of fakes and reproductions. Further, the incredible prices of antiques have encouraged a rash of big time as well as petty thievery which has victimized cathedrals, churches, private homes and antique shops. This issue of art crimes is being addressed systematically by the museum movement through networking, vigilance, documentation and education.

       Most of the institutions of high art during the Marcos era were rehabilitated to accommodate popular programs. A year after the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) was reorganized in 1986, the Coordinating Center for the Visual Arts (CCVA) was instituted to encourage art expressions based on theory and praxis rather on commercial motives, move the artistic experience closer into the mainstream of society and enhance this experience for both the artist and his audience. Along with the creation of the CCVA, the former CCP Museum (established in 1969) was reorganized into Contemporary Art museum of the Philippines (CAMP) and was tasked to undertake studies on all forms of current visual expressions through exhibitions and fora. The CAMP maintains the art holdings of the CCP, most of which were acquired when the CCP absorbed the permanent collection of the Museum of Philippine Art (MOPA). Museo ng Kalinangang Pilipino was established as another Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Museum in 1988 to clarify Philippine aesthetic traditions, world views and beliefs of traditional communities.

       In 1986, the original goal of the Metropolitan Museum of Manila to showcase world art was enhanced with the implementation of new bilingual, didactic and holistic approaches to museum exhibitions. Shows of foreign art are now complemented with exhibits of Philippine art of the same period or genre.

       The Philippine Museum of Ethnology is a reorganization of the Museum of Philippine Traditional Cultures which was inaugurated in 1972 under the auspices of the PANAMIN (Presidential Arm for National Minorities). It reopened in 1986 under the new administration of the Nayong Filipino Foundation. The museum features indigenous costumes and ethnographic collections of various cultural minorities.

       In 1988, the Department of Education was reorganized. Along with it, the National Museum’s organizational structure and its function were improved and expanded. The Archeology Division was created which was a former section of the Anthropology Division. Its function is to conduct researches on the prehistory of the Philippines in order to define the foundation of the culture of her people through systematic archeological excavations of land and water sites. Two existing divisions were renamed and their functions were expanded- the Restoration and Engineering Division takes charge of Presidential Decree Nos. 260 and 756, conducts nationwide survey and documentation of important immovable cultural properties of the Philippines and has general supervision over the restoration, preservation, reconstruction and remodeling of immovable cultural properties. The Archeological Sites and Branch Museum Division that administers, maintains, preserves artifacts in the archeological sites, is also authorized to establish branch museums in different regions of the country, concomitant with its goal of bringing the museum closer to the majority of the people in the countryside. At the moment, the National Museum has 18 regional Museums widely distributed all over the Philippines. These regional museums are created with the initiative of politicians, local officials and people in the community.

       A historical first was the creation of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) to provide a conducive environment for the development and dissemination of Philippine culture. On April 2, 1992, President Aquino signed into law Republic Act No. 7356 entitled  "An Act Creating the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA); establishing a National Endowment Fund for Culture and the Arts; and for other purposes". The Commission paved the way for the formation of the national Committee on Museums (NCOM), the official institutional representative to UNESCO’s International Council of Museums (ICOM), to professionalize museum systems and to support them in undertakings that seek to promote Philippine cultural heritage. The National Committee on Museums had structured 13 subcommittees to service and support museums all over the country. The subcommittees are on art crimes, cultural action, budget and programs, grants and scholarships, inter-regional activities, membership, marketing and promotions, conservation and museum security, science museums, religious art museums, documentation, military museums and museum professionalization. Since its inception, it has sponsored publications, tours, educational seminars, trainings and workshops, and initiated the Annual Museums Congress.

       Philippine museums have evolved in number, in structure and in the quality of programs and services. According to the NCOM listing, there are currently 161 museums in the country. In the National Capital Region there are 56 museums; Northern Luzon has 22 museums; Southern Luzon has 36 museums; Visayas has 36 museums and Mindanao has 11 museums. Organizational structure has not been confined to administrative and curatorial offices but has branched out to education, marketing, public relations, development, extension programs, museum shops and restaurants. Traditional programs of collections management, in-house exhibitions, research and publications have expanded to seminars, concerts, children’s activities apprenticeships, trainings , films and technical exchanges.

       The latest development in Philippine museums is the emergence of interactive museums and ecomuseums. An interactive museum is based on the concept of allowing the audience to interact with exhibition components to heighten their enjoyment and to facilitate their learning process. Exponents of this format are the Science Centrum (1992) and Museo Pambata (1993).

       Ecomuseums are community learning centers that link the past with the present as a strategy to deal with future needs of the particular society. The Museo San Isidro de Pulilan was established in 1997 by a youth organization "to serve as a unifying factor for the people of Pulilan, the repository of their artifacts, the educator of their youth, the center for its intellectual and cultural development…to participate in the continued, sustainable and meaningful development of Pulilan." Bahay Nakpil Bautista ng Quiapo was soft-opened to the public in 1997 "to serve as a venue in teaching culture and history that would instill civic responsibility, aesthetics, cultural stewardship and positive values for the community". Museo ng Maynila was inaugurated in 1997 " to create a center that shall engender heritage consciousness for the city’s inhabitants, a house that serve as a repository for historical and cultural relics of value, and a haven for the pantheon of local heroes."

       This period of museums for all describes the continued increase in number of museums and their adoption of user-friendly programs. The contemporary museum movement is strikingly characterized by the heightened consciousness to conduct research on the collection and the audience, to consider the Philippine milieu and to design appropriate services to maximize the impact on the people. The movement is a discernment process that begins with introspection and reflection and later creation and evolution. The realization is not only on the appropriate museum technology but on the identification of the Filipino approach to museology.

Conclusion

       The development of Philippine museums in the past ninety-eight years has been from tradition to innovation. In the early stage, museums conformed to the orthodox framework- as institutions that collect and exhibit material culture for the education of humanity. In recent years, museums have become cultural animators and social reformers. At different levels of intensity throughout Philippine museum history, conditions of government support for the arts, freedom of artistic expression, and private patronage of the arts provided conducive environment for the museums’ growth and transformation. Museums will continue to exist and evolve as along as they provide meaning to people and uplift their lives.

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About the Author:
Eric Babar Zerrudo is the former Executive Director of the Philippine Association of Museums, Inc. and is the author behind "A Guidebook to the Museums of Northern Luzon" published by the NCCA. He is a consultant to various museums like Nakpil-Bautista Cultural Center, Museo ng Maynila, Sta. Barbara Centennial Museum and GSIS Museum of Art.
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