Pioneering yearbook on Philippine museums chronicles experiences of pandemic

The National Committee on Museums of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts has published a yearbook on Philippine museums, Museyo: The Philippine Museums Yearbook.

The first volume was launched on 5 October 2022 during the kick-off ceremony of NCCA’s celebration of Museums and Galleries Month at the Bulwagang Kanlahi of Diwa ng Tarlac Convention Center in Tarlac City, Tarlac.

Edited by Jose Eleazar Bersales of the University of San Carlos in Cebu, Museyo 2022 features the state, activities and programs of museums all over the country during the first years of the coronavirus pandemic and the imposed restrictions.

The articles were written by museum administrators, curators and staff members, documenting the state of museums in the past three years.

With the closure of these institutions in the first quarter of 2020, most of their programs were implemented virtually such as online exhibits and fora and talks on museum curation, exhibition and maintenance of collection through online platforms such as Zoom.

Displaced museum workers, as with other cultural workers, were also given financial assistance by the NCCA to keep them afloat particularly during this hard, uncertain period in the pandemic.

The yearbook includes essays and articles written by and about the Alliance of Greater Manila Area Museums, Central Luzon Association of Museums, Southern Luzon Association of Museums, Western Visayas Association of Museums, Inc., Eastern Visayas Association of Museums, Central Visayas Association of Museums, Mindanao Association of Museums, and museums under the National Museum of the Philippines and the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.

Authors include, among others, Sister Flordeliza Deza of the Paulinian Center for Culture and Heritage; Analyn Salvador-Amores of Museo Kordilyera; Gem Suguitan of Lopez, Quezon; Sandy Solinap of Museo Diocesano de Bacolod; Carl Bordeos of Christ the King College Samar Archaeological Museum; Bersales; Rasul Sabal of the Marine Science Museum of the Mindanao State University-Tawi-Tawi College of Technology and Oceanography; ang Bryan Paraiso of NHCP.

Apart from the activities and programs during the pandemic, the essays also include histories of museums featured. The book also has a directory of NCOM member museums.

Museyo, according to then NHCP and NCCA chairman Rene Escalante, is indeed a “chronicle and guide for museum workers and researchers for the years to come” particularly during events like pandemics.