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The Women Behind Museo Pambata: Reimagining the Future of Art for Filipino Children

A woman-led team spearheads an ambitious redesign project for the Museo.

Museo Pambata looks to reimagine itself as a beacon of light and hope for Filipino children with a redesign project that is spearheaded by a women-led team: Co-founder and Chairperson Nina Yuson, President Bambi Mañosa-Tanjutco, Vice President Sofia Zobel-Elizalde, Executive Director Micah Sofia Pinto, Administrative Officer Zel Baylo, and Building & Facilities Staff Member Cess Javier.

When asked about the significance of a woman-led project to develop more accessible art spaces in the heart of Metro Manila, the Museo Pambata team stressed the importance of having a safe space to learn and play in the upbringing of the Filipino youth. “They [young museum goers] will see in the new exhibit rooms, more Filipina heroes, artists, and fantastic citizens who have made great contributions to society,” says Bambi Mañosa-Tanjutco. The team acknowledged that a new wave of Filipino children is growing up and so Museo Pambata must adapt in order to engage well with this new and dynamic generation that is developing in the information age. “Our children’s museum has to keep re-imagining to make us inviting to our young audiences,” Nina Yuson states.

The team also cites the COVID-19 pandemic as one of the principal catalysts that necessitated the REIMAGINE project. “The ‘re-imagining’ of Museo Pambata is extremely important as I feel the pandemic has shown us that the world is changing very rapidly. More than ever, it is so important to offer children, as well as their families, healthy and safe places to run, play, create, imagine, learn and discover,” says Sofia Zobel-Elizalde.

With this in mind, Museo Pambata welcomed aboard their new Executive Director Micah Pinto to help spearhead the most ambitious redesign project the museum has undergone. In partnership with Museo Pambata’s youth consultants, Natasha and Bella Tanjutco from TAYO Philippines, the museum is introducing new art spaces.

The Pukyutan, unveiled last June 2021 features an outdoor space for kids and adults to learn through play the interconnectedness of nature and its importance in the natural world. The Bahay Kubo 2.0, set to be completed in June 2022 and located in what was once the Museo’s Herb Garden, will be a safe space where kids can learn about the importance of family values, food sovereignty, and feminism. Planned installations to be built here will also share the value of Filipino cultural heritage and how it has evolved in the 21st century with the influx of new innovations and technology. This whole Bakuran Project aims to provide visitors of the museum with a large outdoor activity area where they could learn about the importance of nature and its inseparable connection to our day-to-day lives as well as allow the youth to experience nature beyond the screens of their devices. The Bakuran encourages collaborative and interactive learning that is conducive to art appreciation and the development of values in its child audience.

The museum’s new features especially echoes the need to teach the history and values of feminism and the legacy of many great Filipina artists. “As we celebrate women’s month, we not only recall the essence of womanhood but the overwhelming capacity of women for strength amidst the struggle, perseverance amidst adversity, and grace amidst navigating change,” said Micah Pinto.

Museo Pambata’s commitment to Filipino children

Museo Pambata’s core mission has always been to help children grow, supplement their childhood with art appreciation and learning through play, and provide kids with a safe space to learn about art and history. “Mas na-e-enjoy nila [young museum goers] ang kanilang kabataan dito. Providing them with a wide variety and more accessible spaces gives them more freedom to experience the joy, wonder, and excitement of being in new environments,” Zel Baylo states.

With its new woman-led team directing the REIMAGINE project, the museum is charting a new course toward achieving its mission to nurture, protect, and empower the Filipino community. This sends a clear message to Filipinas across the country, as expressed by Cecil Javier, also known as Ate Cess: “May kakayahan ang mga babae para paandarin ang isang organisasyon at pagandahin ang kanilang paligid. Ang kababaihan ay may malalim na pag-unawa at malawak na pag-intindi sa kapwa at kanyang kapaligiran.“

“We hope to instill in young girls that they can be their own people because women lead the conversation with both head and heart – which is what we need to not only survive the crisis our world faces today but to continue to thrive,” concludes Mañosa-Tanjutco. “Women and girls have the innate capability to care beyond themselves and that is what we believe the world needs more of today.”

Museo Pambata re-opens its doors this coming May 2022. To know more about Museo Pambata and how you can collaborate with them through partnerships, sponsorship, and donations, you may follow them on Facebook and Instagram @museopambata or visit their website. For more details, please get in touch with Micah Pinto, Museo Pambata’s Executive Director, at [email protected]

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