Newly enhanced Negros Museum unveiled today

The newly rehabilitated Negros Museum launches “Talamdan”, an exhibit of documents and records gathered during the Spanish occupation in Negros collected by the National Archives of the Philippines.

Victorino Mapa Manalo, Executive Director of the National Archives of the Philippines describes the Negros Museum as a “pioneer” institution and that not all Negrenses are aware of the title.

The Museum has been operating since 1996 and, aside from its longevity, Manalo points to the Museum’s unique approach to curating – a standalone fact that sets it apart from other museums in the province.

“The Negros Museum is progressive, very advanced in style,” adds Manalo. Together with Negros Cultural Foundation President Marilyn Gamboa, Vice President Cristina Montelibano and Negros Museum Executive Director Tanya Lopez, they add the finishing touches to Talamdan, an opening exhibit to kick off the rehabilitation program of the Negros Museum. He defines Talamdan as “records” or “documents” and as such, the exhibit houses Spanish-era annals of Negros Occidental collated by the National Archives of the Philippines.

To make Talamdan a holistic experience, local artists will “enhance” the age-old archives with their products and crafts, while local collections provide more depth and meaning. According to Manalo, this is the first time these documents are exposed to the public, and what better place to showcase the rich history of the province than the Negros Museum.

“The Negros Museum has been a survivor all these years. It has been a source of inspiration but it is often overlooked,” says Manalo while detailing the ongoing refurbishment of the gallery. Through the efforts of the Provincial Government, the Negros Cultural Foundation and private donor Angelica Urra Berrie of the Russell Berrie Foundation, the Negros Museum is on the verge of an artistic revolution and a positive transformation that will see the preservation of the stories that resound in each pillar for the future generation.

The renovation will likewise expand what Manolo describes as “New Museology”. The Negros Museum is the first provincial museum to adopt the approach by seeing beyond Punto de Vista and embraced the community as a whole. This alone stands firm in their commitment to promote and expose local talents while pushing for “deep understanding of local culture, history, artistic practice, and ecology, primarily among the children and youth of the island of Negros, and also among peoples visiting the various areas of the province.”

After Talamdan, the National Archives of the Philippines will continue to help the Museum as much as they can. One way is for them to “explore other dimensions” of curating while endorsing the talents of Negros artists at the same time. Another is the revival of the Museum’s famed permanent exhibit: a collection of masterpieces with a solid and comprehensive foundation of the wealthy lore of the island.*