Issue of September 17, 2017
     
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3rd Northern Luzon summit of museums

Museums from Baguio City, the Cordillera, regions 1 and 2 will convene for the 3rd year from Oct. 4 to 6.

It is spearheaded by Isikias “Ike” Picpican, head of the North Luzon Association of Museums (NLAM) and Gemma Estolas, secretary of NLAM and assistant curator of the Baguio Museum. It is the second time the event sponsored by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts through the National Committee on Museums headed by Dannie Alvarez will be held in Baguio. The first one was organized by the Baguio Museum in 2015 with an exhibit of existing museums then.

According to the International Commission on Museum (ICOM), this year’s International Museum Day theme is “Museums and contested histories: Saying the unspeakable in museums.”

Every year, the ICOM changes themes, which are carried during the celebration of International Museum Day usually celebrated on May 18.

Topics to be tackled for this year’s regional summit are: Promoting and developing community identities: Shifting thrusts of museums in the 21st century; Material and non-material artifacts in museums: Bridging the people’s past and present memories by Ike Picpican; Community museums: Towards building local history profiles by Stanley Anongos, director of the Benguet State University Center for Culture and the Arts; Museum bridging strategies to promote peace and reconciliation among people by Dr. Lucia Ruiz, head of Linawa Center; and Cultural property protection by Angel Bautista, acting assistant director of the National Museum.

I was once asked in an interview how I would differentiate the values of one community of people from the other. I have yet to answer that question, because as far as I am concerned, that question is best answered by a sociologist and not by a museum worker.

Our primary concern is to promote arts and culture, history and heritage. It is mainly information and education. The artifacts on display can broaden one’s horizon in terms of understanding the culture of the communities. Perhaps, one can better understand the artifacts by the story connected with it, but one cannot gauge the values of its people by merely looking. Assimilation is a better way to understand values. It is like raising a family, one can pinpoint the owner of a toy or property, but one cannot gauge the personality of its owner. This would be a good hypothesis for a dissertation.

Part of the itinerary of the museum workers will be visits to the Winaca eco-cultural village of Wilson and the late Narda Capuyan at Acop, Tublay, Benguet and the Tam-awan Village at Longlong-Tam-awan Road.

“Museum collections offer reflections of memories and representations of history.” The displays and collections showcase a people’s way of life. Their attires, utensils, jewelries, jars, fishing equipment and wooden artworks are not just about aesthetics but also for better understanding.

We each have our own notions of presentation. The displays can be contemporary or traditional. It all depends on who is your target audience. More importantly, it is the respect for each artifact that the display brings.

For more information about the 2017 regional summit of museums, call Ms. Estolas at 444-7541 or 0915-655-0668.

Erratum in last week’s article about the Baguio Museum being selected for the 2017 Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP), Mr. Edwin Vergara of the US Embassy stated “The Baguio Museum is one of the 30 entries from all over the world selected for the 2017 funding under the AFCP submitted to Washington D.C.”

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