A Fun Museum at the Old Elks Club Building in Manila



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.” 



Although museums have a good purpose of educating the people, particularly the youth, I think our museums still lacks that factor that would keep the young generation from returning. 



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 spirits of the dead, lost souls and white ladies that haunt dark places.


But if we have visited the Museo Pambata near Luneta back then, we would probably have shared among ourselves a different story.



Museo Pambata



Museo Pambata is situated in the building built for the Manila Lodge of the Elks (Elks Club) 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.  



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.” 



A Hands-on Museum?



As we entered the museum, we went to the Old Manila Exhibit where a story telling session was being held by museum volunteers.



The Old Manila Exhibit, takes the children into a whimsical journey back to the turn-of-the-century Manila. 



They are invited to board a Spanish Galleon (this is my favorite, I want to have one at home), get on a tranvia, walk into a mini Cathedral and step into a bahay-na-bato. 




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.



The hall called Children in the Global Village Exhibit has exhibits of toys, musical instruments, dolls dressed in different national costumes. Children’s theater, puppet shows, films, concerts and even art exhibits are held here. 



We walked through a wide staircase that brought us to the Tuklas Room. Here learning science is made fun and easy.  






The 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. 




At the Career Options exhibit, children are given the opportunity to express and visualize a career they want when they grow up. 



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. 



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.



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. 




I think Museo Pambata provides children with a good first time museum experience. It is a place where children can develop their appreciation the kind of learning that museums can offer.  



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 info@museopambata.org



Related links:

Museo Pambata ng Maynila from Senor Enrique’s Wish you were here! 

Museo Pambata from Gita Asuncion’s My Litle Space


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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thank you maricel for the kind words. we will definitely give Museo Pambata another visit soon.

  2. It is really an honor Ms. Nina Lim-Yuson for having you visit Traveler on Foot. I would like to thank you for putting up a hands-on museum and making it available to this generation. My son was so thrilled with all the things he experienced there. I have told my friends and their families about it. I think most of them have been to the Museo and they also had a fun experience going through the different exhibits. We will definitely visit the museum again some time soon.

    Traveler on Foot is our little contribution to our country and to the world. Promoting places like Museo Pambata and making information about our country’s rich heritage is to our delight.

    Let us know how we can help the Museo Pambata achieve it future endeavors.

  3. Dear Traveler,

    Thank you for featuring Museo Pambata in your site. Aside from the museum, we have activities and events throughout the year. We also have a colorful mobile library that goes around the various barangays for storytelling and arts and crafts. Do visit our site at http://www.museopambata.org. Better yet, visit us again and tell your friends too.

    Very nice pics, too!

    All the best,

  4. This is the first time I’ve viewed your blog and we thank you very much! There is still so much we can do for the museum. We are creating a new traveling exhibit “Money Matters for Kids” – a financial literacy ‘hands on’ exhibit where kids can learn how to use money wisely..specially during these difficult times. We are also conceptualizing a new “Career Options” theme “Paglaki ko, gusto kong maging ilustrador o manunulat” (When I grow up I want to be an illustrator/writer of children’s books). Please come by again! Nina Lim-Yuson, Pres/CEO, Museo Pambata Fnd., Inc.

  5. The experience of being at Museo Pambata is a lot better donG ho. It’s worth the time.

    Thanks for visiting.

  6. ive been staying in manila for about 5years now but i never had the chance to visit this museum. at least by now i’ve seen parts of it through your blog.

    thanks for sharing.

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