MUSEUMS WITHOUT WALLS
By Ed Aurelio C. Reyes
Kamalaysayan Writers and Speakers
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T WAS KAMALAYSAYAN's coordinator for artists, Odette Alcantara, who I first heard bringing up the point: that we, indeed, have museums in our city squares and town plazas all over the country, museums without walls, museums that are accessible to all. Ms. Alcantara used a Tagalog title, Museong Walang Bubong to descrive it. She acknowledged that the English translation is not all that precise. I countered that the absence of walls had the advantage of stressing accessibility. Many museums, although not formally off-limits to the poor, are so structured as to intimidate the poorest of the poor into staying out. Especially those who are barefooted.
Anyway, what is KAMALAYSAYAN referring to with this concept of museums without walls? The monuments and the markers scattered all over. Every town square has a monument of Rizal. I believe that this national hero has been getting enough popular recognition as he so much deserves. But there are the other monuments. Do the people who live in houses, work in offices, and walk along the streets, around these monuments know fully who are honored by these monuments and why they are so honored?
Educators, local officials, civic clubs, and, of course, history-oriented associations, can very well undertake projects that would maximize for education and awareness-raising purposes the presence of all these statues in their respective localities.
How is that to be done? First, the basics. Get the facts about the persons and/or events being honored. Next, make sure there are mechanisms to keep these monuments and their surroundings cleaned and maintained. Then, public gatherings, big and small, can be planned to be held in front of or around these monuments, including but not limited to floral offerings on certain dates.
If community leaders do not bother undertaking such activities, chances are the youth of those communities would know nothing or next to nothing about their heoic heritage. Chances are, they themselves would catch such disease called collective amnesia or, to use a more painful term, historical ignorance.
(Kamalaysayan Media Service)
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