Uncovering history: 10,000 PH artifacts in Chicago museum

Image via 10000kwentos.org

Image via 10000kwentos.org

via rappler.com – Despite a distance from the Philippines of 8,125 miles, Chicago is home to over 100,000 Filipinos and Filipino-Americans.

The midwest city in the US is also home to 10,000 pieces of Philippine history. All 10,000 artifacts are housed in Chicago’s Field Museum, one of the largest natural history museums in the world.

The museum may have the most comprehensive collection of Philippine artifacts in the Western Hemisphere, but very little is known about the items, many of which still remain in storage.

A new campaign, called 10,000 kwentos (10,000 stories) was launched by the Field Museum in cooperation with the Filipino American community. The campaign seeks to identify all the artifacts through a process called “co-curation.”

“Co-curation,” said the campaign’s press release, “is the philosophy that a museum or cultural institution consult and directly involve the community from which the objects of culture originate.”

Among the collection are weapons, armor, hunting tools, pottery and rolls of old fabric.

Dr. John Edward Terrell, an anthropologist from the Field Museum, brought together the collection and the Filipino community in his first co-curation initiative.

Community members are given the opportunity to photograph 8,000 artifacts from the collection. Images are then uploaded onto a custom web portal to allow the public to comment on collection items. The process will allow the curators of the collection co-curate information about the artifacts with the community.

According to blog Chicagoist, “The collection comes from a 1907-1910 expedition to the Philippines to gather artifacts. The expedition was funded by a Chicago industrialist named Robert Fowler Cumming.”

Those interested in participating can view the collection at 10000kwentos.org.

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