WHAT IS A MUSEUM. Most people identify museums as repositories of artifacts. They are filled with antiquated objects displayed in glass shelves or cubes.
The International Council of Museums defines a museum to be a “non-profit making permanent institution in the service of the society and of its development, open to the public, that collects, conserves, exhibits, researches, and communicates for purpose of education, study, and enjoyment, the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity.”
MUSEO PAMBATA. I remember back in grade school when my classmates would scare themselves off with ghost stories after a museum tour. Perhaps we were influenced by how museums look and feel that we are reminded of the earth-bound spirit, lost souls, white ladies that haunt dark places,etc.
But if we have visited the Museo Pambata near Luneta back then, we would probably have shared among ourselves a different story.
THE OLD ELKS CLUB. The Museo Pambata is situated in the building built for the Manila Lodge of the Elks during the American era. Designed by William Parsons in 1907, it is a classic example of American architecture following the Burnham Plan for Manila at that time.
HANDS-ON MUSEUM. Museo Pambata was opened to the public in 1994 following the vision of former Department of Social Welfare and Development secretary Estefania Aldaba-Lim and child educator, Nina Lim-Yuson.
As envisioned by Lim and Yuson, the Museo Pamabata is the first interactive museum in the Philippines. While traditional museums are hands-off center where the visitors are prohibited from touching museum pieces, Museo Pambata provides children with alternative to traditional classroom learning. The Museo Pambata is a hands-on museum with sensory and tactile tools to help children hypothesize, manipulate, and experiment, test their idea and stretch their imagination.
OLD MANILA. The Old Manila Exhibit, takes the children into a whimsical journey back to the turn-of-the-century Manila.
The children were invited to board a Spanish Galleon, get on a tranvia, walk inside a Baroque cathedral and step into a bahay-na-bato.
WALK-IN DIORAMAS. There is also a Heroes Circle where visitors can learn about both our national and contemporary heroes.
Then there is the Kalikasan Exhibit where a simulation of a rainforest and a sea bed is presented using multi-media and walk-in dioramas.
TUKLAS ROOM. We walked up a wide staircase to the Tuklas Room. Here learning science is made fun and easy where children are encouraged to play junior scientist and discover scientific principle behind everyday objects.
A moon rock from the historic Apollo 11 lunar expedition can be viewed from the metal sphere at the Tuklas Room.
PLAY MAKE BELIEVE. At the Career Options exhibit, children are given the opportunity to express and visualize a career they want when they grow up. The Pamilihang Bayan is a mock-up Filipino marketplace where children can pretend to shop in a row of play stores and practice entrepreneurial skills.
A Craft Room allows children to unleash their imagination and creativity in turning recycle scrap materials into works of art. The art works are proudly displayed in this room.
HUMAN ANATOMY. My favorite of all the exhibits is the My Body Works Exhibit. Here different part of body function is demonstrated using large-scale models of the different organs from the human body.
The Gift Shop at the ground floor offers children’s books, educational toys, multi-media learning-aid materials at reasonable prices.
EPILOGUE. Museo Pambata provides children with a good first time museum experience. It is a place where children can develop their appreciation for the kind of learning that can only be discovered in museums.
Museo Pambata is open from Tuesdays to Saturdays at 9 am to 5pm during the months of April to July and 8 am to 5 pm in the months of August to March. It is located along Roxas Boulevard Corner South Drive, Manila. Admission fee is at 100 pesos for both adults and children. For more information, they can be reached at 523.17.97 to 98 or firstname.lastname@example.org