(SPOT.ph) The National Museum of the Philippines is known to house tangible evidence of just how rich Philippine culture is. In fact, we have three museums in Manila City to cover all bases: anthropology, fine arts, and natural history; not to mention the many regional museums in the provinces. And the National Museum of Anthropology just got an upgrade through the opening of the Elizabeth Y. Gokongwei Ethnographic Stoneware Resource Center on June 11. It is located on the fifth floor of the museum's East Wing.
The first of its kind in the Philippines, the Elizabeth Y. Gokongwei Ethnographic Stoneware Resource Center showcases the National Museum's varied collection of 291 stoneware pieces, which are mostly high-fired and glazed. The artifacts are from the 15th to the 20th centuries, collected from different ethnolinguistic groups in the country, including the Ilokano, Ibaloy, Bontok, Ifugao, and Gaddang communities in northern Luzon; Pala’wan and Tagbanua communities in Palawan, and Maguindanao, Maranao, and Tausug communities in southwestern Mindanao.
“As a staunch advocate of a holistic education, the Foundation takes to heart its duty to protect our heritage, enrich our culture, and pass this on [to] the next generation,” Gokongwei Brothers Foundation General Manager Lisa Y. Gokongwei-Cheng said during the launch.
The project is made possible through a grant by the Gokongwei Brothers Foundation (GBF), which said in a statement that the project's aim is to "provide better access to the ethnographic stoneware collections through the establishment of a resource center and visible storage, development of special tours and educational activities, for educators, students, researchers, and the general public."
Aside from providing maintenance and upgrading of the Resource Center, GBF also assisted in the delivery of equipment and supplies for interior furnishing, transport of ceramic collection from regional museums and satellite offices, and the ongoing inventory, condition, and assessment of the pieces in the collection. Special tours, the provision of digital reference material for teachers, and innovative ways of learning about the collection are also in the pipeline. An accompanying book, titled From Kiln to Kin: The Philippine Ceramic Heritage, is also in the works.
The Elizabeth Y. Gokongwei Ethnographic Stoneware Resource Center is at 5/F National Museum of Anthropology, Padre Burgos Avenue, Ermita, Manila. It is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Walk-ins are allowed. Admission is free.
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