by Anna Krisna Noble Bautista/Asianjournal.com
MANILA — Envisioned to create a war-free world through the young ones, the Museo Pambata launched the First Asian Children’s Muse-um Conference on February 23 at the Manila Hotel. The four-day event themed “Children’s Museum as Bridges of Peace” was attended by around 150 participants from schools, museums, organizations and foundations from various countries.
“Peace can exist in so many levels. In their families, chil-dren can analyze how their identities are connected to that of their family members. From their reflections on the family, they can move on to discovering their roles…in the community and the coun-try,” Museo Pambata Presi-dent and CEO Nina Lim Yu-son said. She noted that the barriers in attaining peace within the country is fortified by language, religion, cultur-al practices and social status.
Museums’ impact on children
During the first day of the conference, panelist Gail Dexter Lord stated that mu-seums are not founded for learning because “learning is something we do all the time.”
“Childhood is literally de-signed for learning,” she added. Children, however, ‘sadly’ gain knowledge af-ter some repetitions—a fact which can make museums’ influence to the youth weaker than other mediums.
“The unique sections of children’s museums stimu-late curiosity and critical thinking,” she said. Though visits to a museum may be occasional, Lord said that they are ‘unique’ and ‘transformative’, and could challenge the youngsters’ minds to ask questions like: What peace has made for our world today?
“Peace should be made as interesting as war,” the presi-dent of Lord Cultural Re-sources said. She also stated that peace should not merely be defined as an absence of war or a simple state.
Citing the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Scot-land where displays of arms and armors include presenta-tion of their functions, Lord said that critical thinking is a key factor in teaching peace. According to her, an observer may either think of making a better weapon or stop using armaments. “Without criti-cal thinking, we won’t have peace,” she said.
The Canadian Manual of Strategic Planning for Muse-ums author also tipped that parents should often bring their children to museums to avoid the exhaustion of an-swering endless questions.
On the first three days of the event, the panelists dis-cussed topics relevant to the Children’s Museums and Peace, The Asian Child/ Ex-hibits and Programs, and Marketing and Fundraising for the Museum. Participants also visited the Museo Pam-bata, the National Museum of the Filipino People, Bahay Tsinoy, and the Ayala Muse-um on the fourth day.
Museo Pambata is an in teractive and fun art and sci-entific gallery for the youth in the Philippines. It is a non-stock, non-profit private foundation opened in De-cember 1994 by Mrs. Lim-Yuson, who once brought her children to Boston Children’s Museum. When Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim was first elected, he allowed the non-government organization to be situated in the historic Elks Club Building on Roxas Boulevard in Manila. The museum gets its funds from investment income, contribu-tions and grants from indi-vidual, groups, foundations, corporations and government agencies, earned income and admissions income. Mrs. Yuson-Lim is also planning to make the Children’s Mu-seum Conference a bi-annual event.
Funded by the Japan Foun-dation, the conference was attended by representatives of various countries and speakers from international organizations.
“I am certain that this event, which will bring to-gether museum workers, educators, peace builders, parents, and students from all over Asia, will widen your professional network and give you the chance to dis-cuss your ‘peace-building’ project aimed at encouraging the youths to become more active in promoting peace and sustainable environment in the region,” said Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in a statement.For more information on Museo Pambata, visit their website at http://www.museopambata.org