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Press Release



The Consulate General contingent, headed by Consul Ryan Francis Gener (6th from the left), view some of
the latest additions to the museum’s Philippine collection with a group of Filipino Americans.

Chicago, 13 October 2022 – In celebration of the Museum and Galleries Month (MGM) 2022 in the Philippines this October, a contingent from the Consulate General in Chicago, headed by Consul Ryan Francis Gener, brought some Filipino Americans to the Field Museum on 11 October 2022 to view its Philippine Collection.

The Field Museum, located at South Lake Drive, Chicago, welcomes more than a million visitors annually. It houses over 13,000 objects from the Philippines, the largest collection of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. The collection includes textiles, personal adornments, ritual equipment, basketry, carvings and the like.

Field museum staff, headed by Mr. John “Jamie” Kelly, Manager of Anthropology Collections, showed the attendees, among others, samples of ethnic Covid-19 face masks produced in different Philippine provinces. He shared that the mask collection will give a picture of the current pandemic to future generations. The attendees were also toured to the many storage rooms where other Filipiniana items are securely kept.

The contingent also viewed the “Agusan Gold Image,” more commonly known as the “Golden Tara”, a solid gold statue believed to be of a Buddhist Vajralasya offering goddess dated around 1000 to 1300 AD. It is one of the main attractions at the museum’s Grainger Hall of Gems. They also visited the museum’s new interactive feature at the Regenstein Halls of the Pacific, which included a video of Ms. Alpha Sadcopen – who is originally from Bontoc and whose family moved to Greater Chicago when she was 8 years old – discussing the Philippine collection and the importance of her Filipino heritage.

The activity was designed to help spark Filipino pride among the attendees, especially those who have not been back to the Philippines for a long time. Ms. Ashley Lumikh, a Filipino-American music and arts instructor of the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC), was amazed at the museum’s extensive Philippine collection. For her part, Ms. Ria Jessica Bonjoc, a Filipino-American Kinesiology student at UIC, was very appreciative of the Consulate General’s gesture. Together with the other attendees, they remarked that the young generation of Filipino Americans should be able to view the collection to have a glimpse of their heritage.

The Filipino community plays an active role in co-curating the collection. Filipino-American co-curator Lani Chan shared that with the help of the community, around 8,000 objects have now been properly documented and digitized in order to reach a wider global audience, with the hope that the remaining objects will also be digitized soon. END

Field Museum’s Manager of Anthropology Collections, Mr. John “Jamie” Kelly (right), describing the face masks
produced in different Philippine provinces

Additions to the Philippine collection include Binakol-woven masks, the dizzying designs of which are believed to
confuse and distract evil spirits, help ward off Covid-19 infection in contemporary times.

The group poses with the Agusan Gold Image at the Grainger Hall of Gems.

Mr. Kelly assists a member of the community in navigating the interactive display at the Regenstein Halls of the Pacific (left photo)
as others watch the video of Ms. Alpha Sadcopin (right photo)