THE Western Visayas Regional Museum will open its first of five galleries in June, according to National Museum Assistant Director Ana M. T. Labrador.
The first gallery to open in June is Gallery III which houses the region’s rich textile industry.
Labrador said they will implement the staggered opening of the galleries.
“We will try as much as possible by October to have three more galleries,” she said.
The Museum has five galleries: Gallery I will be for the Geological and Paleontological Exhibition Hall; Gallery II will house the region’s flora and fauna; Gallery III for the tangible cultural heritage of Western Visayas; Gallery IV is for intangible cultural heritage such as the languages; and Gallery V will display the archaeological sites and collection of Western Visayas.
The regional museum, which used to be the old provincial jail, officially opened and was turned over by the provincial government to the National Museum on April 11, 2018.
Labrador said that prior to the construction of the museum, they already started collecting artifacts in the region. Archaeologists and anthropologists have also been doing research works here.
“That is why we think that it’s high time that we have a local presence here to showcase what’s relevant for the island and the Western Visayas. We don’t have a museum in the past eh. So it’s high time to display what we’ve been fining around,” she said.
The “Oton Death Mask”, a pre-Hispanic gold mask found in a grave site in Oton, Iloilo will most likely to arrive in October, according to Labrador.
She said they are just preparing for security measures in transporting it from the National Museum office in Manila where it is currently kept.
“Everything has to be written down, the procedures how to move it. What case it will be in, transporting it from Manila to here, and also the display cabinet in which it will be placed. And if we have a full complement of security. That’s why we are looking at closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras to make sure that they are all operational,” she said.
Meanwhile, Labrador is spearheading the four-day training workshop for guides and docents from May 7-10, 2018 at the regional museum satellite office along Bonifacio Drive, Iloilo City.
It is the 5th in a series of workshops that National Museum started in 2016.
The roughly 50 participants are tourism officers, members of the association of museums in Western Visayas, among others.
The workshop covers topics on Heritage and Guided Tours of Museums or Heritage Houses by Nereo Lujan, chief, Iloilo Provincial Information and Community Affairs Office; Fundamentals of Tour Guiding and Spiel Delivery by Rene Cortum, Supervising Tourism Operations Officer, Department of Tourism-6, and Ms. Erlyn Alunan, Community Affairs/Information/Tourism Officer of San Joaquin and Vice President of Iloilo Tourism Officers Association (ITOA); Fundamentals of Museum Guiding with Testimonials and Introduction to Tour Script Writing by April Joy Santiago, NM Museum Guide; and Basic Museum Tour Script Development.
“The training gives us an opportunity to actually present our programs and in a way, it’s a kind of a leveling off of what is expected of museum personnel. We have quite a few of these kinds. It’s a series – collections management, conservation, exhibitions. So eventually we’ll try to run all of them here,” Labrador said.