MANILA – In an effort to attract visitors, especially Filipino youths, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) unveiled new historical attractions in Fort Santiago at Intramuros, Manila.
NHCP Chairperson Maria Serena Diokno led the opening of the Modernized Rizal Shrine Museum and launching of the new E-Learning Room Friday morning.
According to Diokno, the modernized museum was constructed as a replacement to the old and more traditional museum in Fort Santiago.
She said the two museums differ especially in terms of the manner by which the displays were presented.
“Marami sa mga objects namin dito ay dati nang nandito. Meron kaming nadagdag na mga bago na galing mismo sa panahon ni Rizal. Pero importante talaga ang paraan ng pag-display o pag-prisinta ng impormasyon sa isang malikhaing paraan na punung-puno rin ng mahahalagang impormasyon sa kasaysayan natin.”
Diokno said that aside from repairing the structural aspects of museums, NHCP strives to turn at least half of the total curatorial displays into interactive items in order to attract more visitors and keep the museum interesting.
“When we modernize museums, we need [to] repair, especially [those] structures that are old. And then very important are the curatorial displays. In our modernized museums, we strive to make at least 50 percent of the displays interactive, in contrast with the usual 100 percent static displays.”
The NHCP Chairperson also revealed that the Commission’s primary audience target is the Filipino youth because they are “the future of the country.”
“Ang primary target audience natin dito ay ang mga kabataan. Of course, ang lahat ng Pilipino at pati ang mga bisita natin mula sa iba’t-ibang bansa. [Pero] talagang may bias ang komisyon para sa kabataan.”
“I’m hoping na dahil mas malikhain ang presentasyon, maaakit ang mas nakararami na balikan ang ating kasaysayan,” said Diokno.
Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, who was the speaker and guest of honor at the ceremony, commended the NHCP for the interactive museum which, he said, was a very “significant achievement.”
“This project started almost a year and a half ago pa and as you can see, it has been lovingly prepared. Napakalaking bagay nito para sa ating bansa dahil ang kalidad ng ating paggugunita, ‘yan ang nagbabadya ng kalidad ng ating kinabukasan. So I think that it is very, very auspicious that this is recognized today.”
“A lot of museums can be very boring but this is a very interactive museum. It was designed with young people in mind. I am very, very happy,” said Jimenez.
Among other curatorial displays, the Modernized Rizal Shrine Museum houses several items that once belonged to Filipino hero Jose P. Rizal such as his surgical tools when he was still practicing medicine, the gas lamp his mother gave him when he was detained in Fort Santiago and a fragment of his vertebra where he was hit by a bullet during his execution.
The NHCP also launched the E-Learning Room which is only adjacent to the modernized museum.
According to Diokno, the E-Learning room aims to educate Filipinos about Rizal and his works using a very modern approach.
“[The] E-Learning Room is fully-equipped with computers, they have Wi-Fi facility. [The] interactive lessons produced by the Commission can be taken in the E-Learning Room.”
The E-Learning Room was constructed from an old storage room inside Fort Santiago. Diokno said that by reusing an old room, NHCP can teach Filipinos about adaptive reuse.
“Gusto rin naming ipakita sa publiko ang isang halimbawa ng adaptive reuse. Kadalasan kasi, ang tingin natin kung luma na ‘yung istruktura, wala nang silbi. Pero makikita niyo ‘yung ginawa namin, lumang-luma tapos na-transform namin. Magagamit [pa rin] sa modernong paraan nang hindi namin binuwag ang istruktura, ni-restore namin.”
At present, the entrance NHCP’s modernized museums are free of charge. However, Diokno said that in the future, the establishments might ask reasonable entrance fees from visitors in order to help restore and maintain the museums and their displays.