First phase of Negros Museum’s Refurbishment Program unveiled; Talamdan exhibit opens
Friends and proponents of the Negros Museum gathered Monday for the unveiling of the first phase of its refurbishment program, as well as the opening of Talamdan, an exhibit on the images of Negros in the Records Collection of the National Archives of the Philippines.
Mrs. Angelica Urra-Berrie, Mrs. Lyn Gamboa, Mrs. Isabel Coliongco-Urra, Dr. Marilyn Marañon and Mr. Jose Mari Chan cut the ribbon in last Monday’s unveiling of the first phase of the refurbishment program of the Negros Museum and the opening of Talamdan exhibit.*
Among those who attended the event were Negros Cultural Foundation Board Chairman Jose Mari Chan, President Lyn Gamboa, The Russell Berrie Foundation President and prime instigator of the refurbishment Mrs. Angelica Urra-Berrie, National Archives of the Philippines Director Ino Manalo and Dr. Marilyn Marañon, who represented her husband, Governor Alfredo Marañon.
Chan recalled in his speech that the Museum is the first institution outside Manila to adopt Museology, a novel curatorial style that details competing segments of our society. He also acknowledged the help of Marian Pastor Roces for sharing Museology and as such, the Negros Museum is continuing the approach.
“It is a pioneer in heritage conservation and has helped in a humble way to put Bacolod and Negros Occidental on the map as a cultural center.
“We tend to forget the past; the present should know and appreciate the past. And for recognizing and knowing the illustrious achievements of the Negros Museum, I am indeed proud to sit as Chairman of the Board,” he added.
AAccording to Gamboa, the first phase of the Museum’s refurbishment program included the repainting of the exterior, the provision of outdoor lighting, signage and revitalized its ground and courtyard. On the inside, it created “better storage, shop spaces” and put up 4 galleries for exhibits at the ground floor.
Lighting and air conditioning were also improved.
““We are celebrating a significant milestone in our journey, but I must stress that this is only the first phase,” Gamboa added while detailing “future phases” such as the restoration of the upper floor galleries for permanent exhibits on the story of Negros Occidental, improve the Museum’s famous folk toys and folk arts gallery, the furnishing of a gallery for Negros artists and installing better protection and security system.
The installation of an elevator will also be a part of the Museum’s future refurbishment program, in addition to hosting various shows and major exhibits that will showcase the talents of Negrense artists.
ON INVESTING IN THE NEGROS MUSEUM
““It is more than just making a building beautiful again; we are tapping into the lifeblood of the creativity of the province – a province that has provided so much talent,” said Urra-Berrie as she described her family’s decision to invest in the refurbishment of the Museum was their “gift” to honor their mother Isabel Urra, who has devoted time to fundraise for the Museum. Additionally, she pointed that their investment “is meant to bring the narrative of Negros to life” and “the beginning of an exciting journey to uncover our roots.”
“The Negros Museum has been an under-utilized asset of the province that still has a lot to offer for all of us,” she said while lauding Negros as home to artists who has gained national and international recognition.
FFor Urra-Berrie, the arts is a “driver of economic opportunity and investing in it can yield dividends for education, tourism and local industries.”
“Museums are central to vibrant communities; it connects us to each other through the language of art, beauty and inspiration.”
TThe refurbishment program also opened Talamdan, a collection of records in Negros by the National Archives of the Philippines. It is divided into 4 areas and each will depict a certain aspect of the province during the Spanish Period.
According to Manalo, the first area, “Reaches of Empire” introduces Negros “as a long neglected part of the Spanish empire”, while the second, “Fertile Island” tells Negros as an untamed wilderness with rich vegetation and wildlife.
The third area, called “Structures of Transformation”, deals with “plans kept in the archives” such as bridges, roads, offices and other buildings which “are instruments that remake and control Negros colonial society.
As the fourth and last area, “Sugar and Society” will discuss how the sugar industry “reconfigured” and “changed” the life of the people of Negros by providing the context of advancement that helped give birth to a revolution.
AAside from the records from the National Archives of the Philippines, Talamdan also used collections from the Negros Museum and from private individuals, Manalo added.
They are also planning to write a book on Negros Occidental and has issued a “challenge to the people of Negros” to make this a reality.
Dr. Marañon, who read the message of the Governor, stretched the province’s unwavering support to the Museum as an “important partner”, and that he believes in the importance of culture and the arts and in bringing about a balanced development.
Marañon also pointed the Museum’s contribution to education, industry and tourism and through this, he is “happy to continue the tradition.”
“A challenge has been laid before us: to come up with a museum that will tell the world who we are. Another challenge is for us to have a provincial museum that is the best in the country. If we work together, we Negrenses can achieve what we are set out to do.
“Mabuhay ang kultura sa Negros. Mabuhay ang Negros Museum. Aton gid ini!”*