Right in time with the celebration of the International Museum Day, the National Museum of the Philippines opened to the public the establishment to complete its complex, the National Museum of Natural History.
The six-story building is truly a refresher from the usual setup of the two nearby museums (the National Museum of Fine Arts and the National Museum of Anthropology). Within its breathtaking Neoclassical interiors are collections of the country’s flora and fauna set under a new approach that fits most people in the current generation. With all that, it’s no surprise that the museum garnered a lot of attention since its launch on May 18, 2018.
There’s still a lot to be explored, and if you’re planning to check the museum out for yourself, here’s some of the most interesting things to see in the new learning spot:
The ‘Tree of Life’
The former Department of Tourism building designed by Filipino architect Antonio Toledo in the late 1930s has been brought back to life through the architectural concept and efforts of the team of Dominic Galicia and interior designer Tina Periquet. It boasts the centerpiece called the ‘Tree of Life’ which represented life and the hereditary material of living things with a dome held up by a sleek, spiral structure inspired by the DNA’s double helix.
Not only it was designed for visual purposes, but also for utility. One prominent element is the glass elevator that gives a bird’s eye and a 360-degree view of the atrium while directing the guests up to the fifth level where the first four galleries are located.
Tip: Start from the first level for the museum introduction (Tree of Life Foyer), then proceed straight up to the fifth where the exhibits begin and explore until you reach the last gallery on the second level.
The Remains of Lolong
The remains of Lolong, the largest Indo-Pacific or saltwater crocodile in captivity measured at 6.17 meters from snout to tail and weighed 1,075 kilograms, also lie within its walls. His life-size replica is displayed on the upper courtyard, while his skeleton can be found hanging from the ceilings of the Ayala function hall.
Interactive Gallery Content
The National Museum aims to inspire and provide knowledge to people of any ages, especially to the younger audiences, so most of the collections are presented in the most interactive and convenient way possible. These galleries situated on the second and third levels were the first ones to be opened and they did not disappoint!
Mangroves, Beaches and Intertidal Zones
Gallery IX brings sightseers on a journey to the coastal ecosystems of the country. The collections include taxidermied bodies of animals from the wild displayed along with pressed and preserved plant specimens in a mock mangrove forest.
The Marine Realm
The tenth gallery is most suitable for kids and kids-at-heart. It houses life-size replicas of whales, dolphins, and other sea creatures surrounding a dummy submarine in a simulated underwater setting.
With a few gallery pieces, a small art room and an area for screening informational videos, Gallery XI on the second level highlighted the museum’s environmental advocacy. Truly, it’s never too early or too late to raise awareness!
The last gallery is set for temporary exhibitions, while eight more galleries including “Life Through Time,” “Philippine Biodiversity,” and other exhibitions featuring the country’s wetlands, forests, and natural resources are yet to be opened to the public.
The National Museum of Natural History located at Teodoro F. Valencia Circle, Ermita, Manila is open to everyone every Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Photography by Jenine Sanchez