The Arts Division

Historical Notes

Art is considered as a foremost indicator of culture and state of civilization of a country, reflective of the people's way of life. The artistic patrimony of the nation, therefore, becomes a priceless treasure that necessarily needs to be preserved and protected through all generations. The National Museum is the government agency that leads in the protection and development of Philippine culture, as embodied in Republic Act 4846, otherwise known as the Cultural Properties and Protection Act.

With such a tall order, the Division of Arts and History was created in 1974, which readily undertook enormous efforts in the areas of gallery and restoration, illustrations and labeling, numismatics and philately, and collections of cultural and economic articles, political/historical mementoes, and war memorabilia.

The most prominent programs initiated in the 1960s were: the prestige shows entitled "The History of the Modern Art Movement in the Philippines" which captured a consolidated viewership of almost 13,000 visitors; the design and installation of the Malacanang Museum; the research work on the authenticity of "The Notice of Amnesty" issued by Major Arthur McArthur; the "Duh-Igan" transfer rites of the Ifugaos; the exhibit of "Filipino Traditions in Heraldry and Numismatics"; the re-opening of the "Gallery of Arts" which was dedicated to Juan Luna; and the "Kasaysayan" Floating Exhibit featuring a collection of relics, artifacts, maps and prints of the pre-Spanish Philippines, the Revolution, the Filipino-American War, and the heroic citizens from Lapu-Lapu to Recto.

The Division of Arts and History slowly evolved into the present-day Arts Division in 1974, thus putting a more concentrated grip on its coverage. The Arts Division was primarily tasked to maintain, conserve and restore representative samples of works by l8th century masters, national artists for the visual arts, and leading contemporary painters, sculptors and printmakers of the land. To achieve this end, the Division installed a sophisticated laboratory for the treatment of art pieces, constructed a model storage for paintings and sculptures, and effected the detailing of a conservator/restorer at the Division.

Today, the Arts Division is heavily involved in the promotion of the visual arts through the conduct of numerous exhibitions, acquisition of artworks, research, technical assistance to both public and private entities, and other special activities designed to further develop public interest and appreciation of the arts.

This page was last modified Monday, February 10, 2014
National Museum of the Philippines
Padre Burgos Drive, City of Manila, Philippines