Researcher: RICARDO L. PUNZALAN
Course: Master in Library and Information Science
School: University of the Philippines, Quezon City
Subject Area: Archives, Museums
Year of Graduation: 2005
Statement of the Problem
With the main goal of exploring the context of the archival principles and practices in the museum setting, this study has focused on the case of the Jorge B. Vargas Museum and Filippiniana Research Center (UPVM).
The study also attemps to discover a way to situate the role of the archives in the museum by constructing the administrative history of the UPVM using available Museum records.
This museum has a rich collection of the personal archives of its donors, Mr. Vargas, who had served in various key positions in the government starting from the Commonwealth era, continued into the World war II and up to the 1960's. in 1978, the collection was donated to the University of the Philippines and, thus, serves as a University Museum. The UPVM is a site where archives exists within the museum structure and presents an ideal set up for an inquiry that looks into the archival collection of the museum.
UPVM's archival collection may be grouped into two fonds or record groups; namely: 1) personal archives of jorge B. Vargas; and 2. institutional archives of the UPVM. these two fonds were appropriately arranged based on the archival principles of provenance and original order. Just like any other institution, the UPVM is also a producer or records as it performs its complex roles as both collector and preserver of material culture. The museum's archival records are its institutional memory.
Results and Discussions
The study illustrated how a particular record and its given recording and documentation processes and procedures perform this function of organizational memory and, at the same time, be an active agent of institutional activity. Foremost among its records is the catalog and documentation worksheet used to provide material description and account for the physical condition of the art collection. The study had emphasized that the UPVM catalog may be considered as an archival record by noting its great influence in musuem management and operations and its function of object representation. If museums are about representation through the display and assemblage of material culture, records that account for these objects must also acquire this level of cultural dimension. Records then become "representations" of objects of representations. Theis situation opens up a range of interesting inquiries for archival theory. As these museum perform their administrative and collection management functions, they naturally become records creators. Conversely, as collectors and repositories of archives and manuscripts, they become sites for records accumulation. Thus, museums assume the role of both records creator and record keeper while maintaining their unique institutional identity as distinct from archives. This phenomenon has a profound impact for archival practice and implies that a new paradigm must be developed to appropriately situate the place of the archives within the museum structure. Finally, a recommended standard was drawn to provide a code of practice with which the museum could refer for appropriate guidance and direction.