By Philippine News Agency
The PHP80 million regional extension museum at the old Iloilo Rehabilitation Center is set to be turned over to the National Museum on April 11.
The project to turn the old jail in Bonifacio Drive, Iloilo City Proper into a museum was completed after two years of work, said Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. during his regular press conference on Thursday.
The century-old jail, with lot area of 868 square meters, which used to house thousands of prisoners since it was established in 1911 but was abandoned after the completion of the new provincial jail in Barangay Nanga, Pototan town in 2006.
Defensor said that the turnover would be held as part of “Semana sang Iloilo”, the celebration that marks the establishment of the civil government of Iloilo province.
Jeremy Barns, National Museum director will be coming for the turnover.
Construction works of the museum were composed of phase 1 and phase 2.
The provincial government has allotted PHP20 million for the phase 1 of the museum, which included demolition and retrofitting of the old jail and was completed in January 2016.
Phase 2 of the museum, meanwhile, covers the construction of the dome and landscaping. The National Museum shouldered the construction works.
After the turnover of the project, the newly-hired personnel of the National Museum will also take their oath of office and will be assigned to manage the operations of the museum.
Defensor said that the facility would still be off-limits to the public as the newly-hired staff of the museum would still organize the exhibits.
Jose Nereo Lujan, chief of the provincial capitol’s Public Information and Community Affairs Office, said the centerpiece of the exhibit would be the “Oton Death Mask”, a pre-Hispanic gold mask found in a grave site at Barangay San Antonio, Oton in Iloilo.
“It was kept in the national museum, it is a national cultural treasure and it will be brought here to be showcased as a centerpiece of the museum for Western Visayas,” he added.
Based on the curatorial masterplan, the museum will house five other galleries consisting of archeology, ethnography, fine arts, natural history and textile, Lujan said.
He added that an inauguration would be scheduled to officially open the museum to the public.