National Planetarium temporarily shuts down for retirement of building in Rizal Park

Rosette Adel - Philstar.com
National Planetarium temporarily shuts down for retirement of building in Rizal Park
This undated photo shows the National Planetarium's building in Rizal Park, Manila.
National Museum of the Philippines / Facebook

MANILA, Philippines — It’s goodbye for now to the country’s largest planetarium.

The National Museum of the Philippines on Monday announced the temporary closure of one of its flagship museums, the National Planetarium, as an institution for the decommissioning of its iconic building in Rizal Park, Manila.

“There are times in the life of a beloved institution where a long chapter has to be brought to a close in order to start a new one, for a new contemporary world and a new set of generations of Filipinos,” the NMP said in a statement.

“Thus it is, with a measure of sadness, fondness and nostalgia – but also with anticipation and excitement for its future, that we announce the temporary closure of the National Planetarium as an institution and the decommissioning of its 46-year-old premises in the central section of Rizal Park, Manila,” it added.

The NMP said that the move would pave way for the development plans of the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC) in the central and western sections of Rizal Park. NPDC is an attached agency of the Department of Tourism DOT in charge of managing Rizal Park and Paco Park.

According to the NMP, they also have their own developments for the National Museum Complex over the eastern section of Rizal Park, where the National Museum of Anthropology and National Museum of Natural History around Agrifina Circle are located. This also covers the adjacent area on which the National Museum of Fine Arts stands as mandated by the Republic Act No. 11333 or the “National Museum Act Of 1998.”

Republic Act 11333 or the National Museum of the Philippines Act signed on April 26, 2019 "strengthened the mandate of the institution in the management and development of museums and collections of national importance in field of arts, cultural heritage, and natural history. The law enabled the museum to become more responsive to the 21st century and needs and demands of its stakeholders."

“We are sad to retire the old building, which has in its own way been a landmark in Manila and a pillar of the National Museum of the Philippines as a whole, but we are excited and motivated to work to deliver a new facility that will breathe new life into the National Planetarium as a beloved institution,” the cultural agency said.

The announcement of NMP came amid the Museum and Galleries Month observed every month of October by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 798 s. 1991. This annual commemoration “recognizes that these cultural and art forms are necessary for nation-building and shaping the national destiny.”

The temporary shutdown also came days after the 46th anniversary of Planetarium which opened its doors to the public on Oct. 8, 1975.

The Planetarium has a unique feature of true-to-life and full-dome projection of its astronomical shows through its hybrid projection system. This is part primary function which is to “disseminate astronomical information through planetarium shows, lectures, demonstrations, exhibits, and actual celestial observations.”

This dome could accommodate 224 visitors.

“The optomechanical star projector called the GM-15 located at the center of the planetarium’s dome, and the two high-definition digital projectors, equipped with fisheye lenses. These digital projectors were installed in 2016 and are located at the north and south of the planetarium’s dome, the NMP previously said.

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