What used to be mere repositories of old books and antiques now have interactive displays and touchscreens that allow visitors to learn more about the venue. All 21 museums throughout the country are expected to sport the new changes by 2017.
In fact, two heritage houses in the town of Taal were recently modernized and reopened by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines. Both Museo nina Leon at Galicano Apacible and the Museo nina Marcela Marino at Felipe Agoncillo used to be the homes of the Apacible siblings and the Agoncillo couple, respectively.
While they have long been open to visitors, there were no storylines on view. One simply looked through the rooms and saw beds, tables and chairs. Now, there are narratives and wall texts that tell stories of the houses’ original occupants.
There are tour guides available as well although one has to make arrangements before visiting.
León Apacible was a delegate to the Malolos Congress and fought in Batangas during the 1896 Revolution. His brother Galicano was active in the Propaganda Movement and later chaired the Comite Central Filipino in Hong Kong, which sent munitions to the Filipino army and engaged in diplomatic activities to secure foreign recognition of Philippine sovereignty.
Schoolchildren may know Marcela Agoncillo as the seamstress of the Philippine flag together with her daughter Lorenza and José Rizal’s niece Delfina Herbosa de Natividad.
Marcela was also an accomplished homemaker who sewed her children’s clothes and helped augment the family’s income by making clothes for her neighbors when they lived in Hong Kong.
Visitors can learn about these and other little-known facts when they visit the house she shared with her husband Felipe, who led diplomatic activities in Europe during the war of the Philippines against the United States.
Both museums have since been outfitted with interactive features like light-and-sound presentations; stereoscopic devices and photographs; audiovisual rooms; and the aforementioned touchscreen terminals describing the different rooms and furniture.
The Apacible and Marino-Agoncillo museums are both located at Marcela Marino de Agoncillo Street in Taal, Batangas./rga