The National Museum in Manila has two buildings. One is the old Finance Building at the end of Rizal Park which houses the Museum of the Filipino People and the other is the former Legislative Building along Burgos Avenue which is home to the National Gallery of Art.
The National Museum was established as the Insular Museum of Ethnography, Natural History and Commerce in 1901 under the American regime. Conceived by Daniel Burnham, the imposing five-storey building along Burgos Avenue, was bathed with Neoclassical architectural details such as the Corinthian columns evocative of the Parthenon which coincides with the American branding statement that the ideal government is founded on democracy.
Plans were on their way to house the museum’s vast collection in the enormous building when the National Assembly occupied a large portion of the building. World War II brought down the building and destroyed 98% of its collection. It was reconstructed the following years after the war adding the bronze statues of President Manuel Quezon and Vice-President Sergio Osmena who had their inauguration in 1935 on the porch, in front of the three massive doors of the old Legislative Building.
In 1978, the museum again shared space with the Philippine Senate until 1996 when the senate offices vacated the building as part of the celebration of the Philippine Independence Centennial.