15 August 2007

Build your own Museum!

My Lola Fina's patadyong which she wore for years
and which I still use as sarong and accent for our table!

Your own museum may be your house!

If you look around you, you will see a lot of objects that narrate wonderful stories about your past and present. You might find an old furniture, photographs, glassware, books, linens, etc. in a corner and your memory brings back stories of its acquisition (how your mother saved to buy it, or how your father inherited it from his father's father, etc.) You narrate these stories yourself when people go to your house and inquire about the objects they see. And that's when you know that these objects are not just static, decorative pieces.

You want to keep it, not just for its aesthetic appeal, but also for its sentimental value. It is like a page from your family story. Like a treasured book, you want to preserve it and share it with others.

When I bring children on a museum tour, I would point out a particular object and show them the label that provides information especially about the owner of the piece. Most of the time, a museum or an art gallery will borrow important works from private collectors to add for their major exhibitions. Imagine if you or your family owned that important piece, it will be a source of pride and admiration not just for you but for a lot of people! Historical objects promote pride in one's root and identity. This is the reason why we keep certain items in our possession.

In our house (we call "heaven') we treasure an old, wooden cabinet.

This cabinet has followed us as move houses and cities.

It is just a small, ordinary furniture but it holds our valuable collection of books (children's classics, land and people, encyclopedias, etc.) which was part of our growing years as we study, do research or simply have endless fun reading.

Our precious cabinet holds not just our books but also an archive of photographs, documents and objects that my father bought, used, and shared with us. We still use most of them but now we take extra care in doing so.

From my mother I treasure her lace veil and fan.

My Mama was an excellent homemaker and great mother not just to us but also to all our friends and the different communities where we stayed. My Papa was my hero and my best buddy.

From my loving parents, I inherited not just these valuable objects but also fond memories. From them, I inherited my creative nature, love for people and places, daring and adventure, discipline and hard work, and most of all, the love and caring for animals and nature.

My parents died in the early 90s, but their memories are kept alive by objects and stories preserved in old cabinets, trunks, and the house they built for us.

So start documenting your own 'museum pieces".

Make an inventory of items you love (even new ones).

Write down important notes and keep documents

in a clear book (including receipts, etc.) and file

them for reference and safekeeping.

Listen to your elder's stories about objects and your family.

Oral histories are valuable resource materials for everyone.

Create a blog, a journal, or videotape them

and share them worldwide!

This will guarantee that your private treasures

will not get lost or damage and at the same time,

share their unique stories to others.