National Museum Celebrates International Museum Day with Textile Galleries Inauguration

  • May 19, 2012

The National Museum celebrated International Museum Day last Friday, 18 May and the National Heritage Month with the public inauguration of its two permanent textile galleries. Devoted to the rich traditional weaves from the National Museum collection, the galleries’ exhibition, Hibla ng Lahing Filipino: The Artistry of Philippine Textiles, was enhanced by loans from the collection of Senator Loren Legarda, the Museum’s patron. It tells the story of textiles’ central role in uniting Filipinos through common threads, weaving skills, technology and meaning to their lives.

During her keynote speech, Senator Legarda reminded the guests who were anticipating the opening of the exhibition, “it is our duty to our people to preserve the past so that they can learn from it and instill a sense of pride.” This was her motivation plus her passion for tropical fabrics and Filipino ancestral weaves that led her to endow the Museum with a grant to put develop two galleries devoted to textiles. Guests included the National Museum Board of Trustees led by the Chairman Ramon del Rosario, Jr., Secretary of Education Bro. Armin Luistro, Commission on Higher Education Chairperson Dr. Patricia B. Licuanan and National Archives Director Victorino M. Manalo representing the National Commission on Culture and the Arts.

Parallel to this year’s International Museum Day theme, ‘Museums in a Changing World,’ the exhibition honors the gift of Filipino weavers’ skills and brilliance that continue to provide generations of museum goers inspiration through their handmade crafts. Many of these weavers belong to ethnic communities who have taken up the challenge of fostering their distinct identities through cloth and other tangible and intangible expressions. The National Museum on its part have bestowed the exhibition with the respect to weavers and traditional knowledge holders by displaying their textiles with great sensitivity, allowing their artistry and genius to shine rather than obscured by being used as props in designer-centered shows.

Moreover, to ensure the Museum’s textile collection is preserved for the next generation innovative safeguards have been included to keep them from being put at risk. Microclimate display cases were designed to maintain ancestral fabrics in an environment in which temperature and humidity remain constant. Added features of the cases included installing LED lighting systems and tempered glass. Senator Legarda, who is also known as a staunch advocate for environmental protection as well as the Chairperson for Senate Committee on Cultural Communities, did not hesitate to top up her grant to the Museum when she found out that these precautions would cost more. She shared the views of the Museum’s conservators and the exhibition’s curator, Dr Ana Maria Theresa Labrador, that this cultural institution should be mindful of its carbon footprint and lead the way to its sustainable future.

She also led the way to conceptualizing with the Museum the Senator Loren Legarda Lecture Series on Traditional Textiles and Indigenous Knowledge to explore the aesthetics, material culture and processes of ethnic identity along with skills information-generation through fabrics. The second in the series on 25 May, Friday at 2 pm will feature Dr. B. Lynne Milgram. She is an anthropologist, professor at the Ontario College of Art and Design University in Toronto and the founding member and adjunct curator for Asian textiles of the Textile Museum of Canada. Her talk, Materializing the Philippines: Piña Textiles, Nationalism and Borderlands of Cultural Production, will involve her previous research in Aklan and her study on contemporary fashion, including those designed by Patis Tesoro.

Senator Legarda has stressed, “Through this Lecture Series, which will be documented and made part of the annals of the National Museum, we hope to revive in every Filipino the love of our heritage.”

For further information, please contact Bajie or Erwin at 527-1215 or

  • May 19, 2012 |
  • Posted in News |
  • No Comments