NMP-CAR enriches collections with Ifugao manuscript, photos from Bentley Library, UMMAA

Digitized and printed copies of manuscripts and photographs related to the Ifugao community are turned over to the National Museum of the Philippines-Cordillera from the collections of Bentley Library and the University of Michigan Museum of Anthropological Archeology

(PIA) — The National Museum of the Philippines-Cordillera located in Kiangan, Ifugao  enriched its  collection  with the  recent turn over  of  digitized and select print copies of manuscripts and photographs related to the Ifugao community from the Bentley Library and the University of Michigan Museum of Anthropological Archeology (UMMAA).

Some of the collections also pertain to Lieutenant Governor Owen Tomlinson, then Military Governor of Ifugao, who initiated the construction of the stone hagabi located in front of the NMP- Cordillera Museum  at the   War Memorial Shrine in Poblacion, Kiangan.

This development to help preserve cultural heritage  is made possible through the ReConnect/ReCollect: Reparative Connections to Philippine Collections Program  of  the  UM involving faculty personnel, librarians, archivists, curators, students, and members of the Filipino community.

This collaboration  focuses on preserving Philippine collections with cultural sensitivity and historical awareness. The goal is to make these collections more accessible and useful to indigenous communities in the Cordillera region.

UM Bentley Historical Library Director Alexis Antracoli explained the reason why they have these collections  as he informed the community that they now have the option to access these collections online. She also mentioned that they can make requests for up to 50 copies free of charge.

“We have these Philippine materials because of the connection of faculty and alumni from the University who were involved in the American colonization of the Philippines,  both in expeditions and colonial administrations,” said Dr. Antracoli.

ReConnect/ReCollect Project Director Dr. Deirdre De La Cruz shared the three pillars of the project which are reparative curation, reparative connections to the community, and reparative scholarship.

This is to have a critical look at their Philippine collections and strategize on reorganizing the collections so they can be more Philippine and indigenous-centered, given that these collections were taken and acquired during the American colonial period.

The project also aims to inform the local community about the existence of these collections, foster connections among the community, and engage in consultations regarding further improvements in terms of access and usability.

“We are learning a lot, we are taking notes so that when we do this again, we can be better and we are more attuned when it comes to responding to the needs and expectations of institutions and communities in this region,”  said  Dr. Ricky Punzalan, the co-director of the project.

The project’s other key figures include Dr. Analyn Salvador-Amores, Director of the Museo Kordilyera of the University of the Philippines – Baguio, Jim Moss, Collections Manager of Anthropological Archaeology; Diana Bachman, Assistant Director for Researcher Services at the Bentley Historical Library; Orlando de Guzman, a Journalist and Peabody and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and freelance cameraperson; and Dr. Jesse Johnston, Assistant Professor at the School of Information.

NMP- Cordillera Supervising Administrative Officer Eulalie Dulnuan shared that Ifugao province is currently working on the recognition of the Tomlinson Stone Hagabi located in front of the Cordillera Regional Museum as a national treasure by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. She said that  these  materials will support their bid for the Stone Hagabi to be an Important Cultural Property by the NCCA.

Save the Ifugao Terraces Movement Chief Operations Officer Marlon Martin also mentioned that the community is doing its own decolonization movement and hopes to awaken a deeper connection to its culture and traditions in terms of values and intangible heritage among the youth and the community.

“I hope that this is just the beginning of deeper initiatives on repatriation and more reparative connections,” Martin said.

The National Museum -Cordillera boosts of collections of Ifugao wood carvings, binullol, musical instruments, artifacts, brass earrings and bracelets, armlets, neck ornaments, Ifugao clothing among others.(JDP/FBR-PIA CAR,Ifugao)

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