Cover The National Museum of the Philippines launches its new website (Photo: Toshio/Flickr)

Fawn over the country's marvellous art treasures as the National Museum of the Philippines opens its proverbial gates online

Many people consider appreciating art as a necessity; in fact, researchers found that browsing through art galleries can help lower an individual's cortisol (stress hormone) and increase dopamine (pleasure hormone). However, the on and off quarantine protocols brought by the deadly COVID-19 caused many art museums to temporarily halt their operations and close their doors.

Luckily, the National Museum of the Philippines (NMP) has decided to reach its patrons through an innovative website that features all of the museum's art collections, articles, exhibitions, and services. The new website, which can be accessed through nationalmuseum.gov.ph, was launched on September 27, 2021 at 10am, this is in anticipation of the museum's 120th anniversary. 

During the launch, NMP official April Joy Santiago explained why the museum started the project amid the pandemic. "The NMP has been using its old website since 2006, while it underwent several changes and upgrades over the past few years, the need for a friendlier, more updated, and easy to navigate website has been more pronounced when COVID-19 forced us to close our doors and limit our physical interaction."

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NMP's new website seeks to strengthen the relationship of the museum with its communities, especially those who have limited access to art galleries due to health protocols and physical limitations. Some of its salient features are views to exhibitions in video format or 360 virtual tours, highlights to collections in NMP's care, news or write-ups, events, job opportunities in the museum and various downloadable forms.

"The National Museum is committed to fulfilling its mandate. It has started to maximise its digital networks to reach the general project; this time, a wider audience in the world wide web," Santiago told the media. 

"We intend it to be a reliable online information resource site that can serve the needs and interest of fellow government employees, and its varied audiences, locally, nationally, and globally," she added.

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After years of planning, developing, and designing a new website that is content-driven, visually appealing, and interface-friendly, the Museum deems it timely to launch a more compelling website to the public. The global health crisis carried imposing challenges and changes in the way cultural institutions perform. For the NMP, these challenges provided an opportunity to step back and figure out how best we can communicate to museum audiences.