EVERY YEAR since 1977, the International Council of Museums (ICOM) has held International Museum Day on May 18 to highlight the role of museums as institutions that serve society and its development. This year’s celebration of International Museum Day particularly focuses on “Hyperconnected museums — New approaches, new publics.”
A number of museums in Metro Manila are participating in the celebration.
• Entrance to the National Museum of the Philippines buildings has been free for the last couple of years, but in celebration of International Museum Day, it is opening its newest building, the National Museum of Natural History, today. Note that not all the halls will be open as work setting up exhibits is still ongoing. The three-building National Museum complex — it includes the National Museum of Fine Arts and the National Museum of Anthropology — is located at Rizal Park, Manila. They are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• The Metropolitan Museum of Manila will offer not just free admission, but also free guided tours of its featured exhibits on May 18. The tours will be held at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. The featured exhibits are Fascination with Filipiniana: The Vargas Museum Collection, In the Wake of War and the Modern: Manila, 1941 to 1961, and UP FRONT: Encountering the Sacred. The museum, which is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., is located at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Complex, Roxas Blvd., Malate, Manila.
Bahay Tsinoy, which celebrates role of the Chinese in Philippine history through artifacts, prints, and photographs, will be open today for free from 1-5 p.m. It is located at #32 Anda corner Cabildo Sts., Intramuros, Manila.
Museo Pambata, the children’s museum which offers eclectic educational exhibits ranging from anatomy to Philippine history, will be open for free from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today. It is located at Roxas Blvd., corner South Drive, Ermita, Manila.
• The Yuchengco Museum will celebrate International Museum Day today, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., by offering free admission to all its exhibitions and galleries. The museum features works by Filipino painters, National Artists, and modernists through prints, paintings, and sculptures throughout the museum. The fourth floor galleries have permanent exhibits on the Yuchengco family and National Hero Jose Rizal. The museum is located at the RCBC Plaza, corner Ayala and Sen. Gil J. Puyat Avenues, Makati City.
• Unlike the other museums, the Ayala Museum in Makati City will celebrate International Museum Day on May 20, a Sunday, starting at 11:30 a.m. Currently on view are the interactive exhibit One Minute Sculptures by Erwin Wurm, and the Bayanihan Hopping Spirit House by Alwin Reamillo which was part of the Manila Bienalle earlier this year. Ayala Museum is located at the corner of Makati Ave. and Dela Rosa St., Greenbelt Park, Makati City.
Aside from the National Museum, some other museums are open for free all year round, including the Museo ni Jose Rizal in Fort Santiago, Intramuros, Manila. The museum, which focuses on the National Hero, houses exhibits which cover everything from his childhood, to his notable writing, to his execution, and includes many artifacts from his life. The museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Another museum that is always free is the Museo ng Katipunan at the Pinaglabanan Shrine in San Juan City. The museum focuses on the secret society that led the Philippine revolution against Spain and includes documents, art, and artifacts from the Katipuneros.