What does a 15th-century Renaissance painting have to do with textiles from Mindanao? Why do anting-anting, Philippine amulets, bear images of Mother Mary? The museum’s new all-ages free tour “Encounters: Renaissance & Philippine Art for Sunday School” will get visitors thinking about these things as they make connections between Philippine and Renaissance art.

Through the tour, the museum seeks to broaden access to the museum’s collections for students, Filipinos, Catholics, and other communities. “Filipinos are Hawai‘i’s second-largest racial group, and are also a young population, mirroring current trends in the age of new museum members,” says Kress Interpretive Fellow Christine Park. “This community presents a strong potential to bring even more new and vibrant perspectives to the museum experience. The museum prioritizes efforts to build opportunities for Filipino-American youth to formally learn about arts heritage and parents’ roots.”

Last Friday Park led a three-hour Encounters orientation for roughly two dozen museum volunteers. During the orientation, the volunteers became visibly—and audibly—more excited about the new tour. After experiencing a test-run, Filipino Chamber of Commerce Hawaii president Sam Acosta had positive comments. “The Encounters tour exceeded expectations,” said Acosta. “It was highly educational but also enjoyable. Families that come together will be able to relate with each other through art. Many immigrant children do not know about their parents’ roots, and the tour gives opportunities to make those connections.”

Volunteers listening attentively at Encounters orientation

Volunteers listening attentively at Encounters orientation

As Park led the volunteers through their orientation, she encouraged them to take every opportunity to help visitors make those connections, always explaining multiple perspectives of the same story. “History is contentious and subjective, but that’s what makes discourse interesting,” said Park. “I encourage everyone to challenge a linear way of thinking and bring out concerns in an open discussion.

The tour is free to groups of 15 or more and comes in two flavors:

  • Encounters: Renaissance & Philippine Art for Sunday School, which is open to everyone
  • Encounters: Age of Exploration, which is for students in fifth through 12th grade and is tailored to enhance Social Studies curriculum

You can find more details about “Encounters” and request a tour here.

“Encounters” was developed with support from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.