Ayala Museum is an art and history museum located at the corner of Makati Avenue and De la Rosa Street in Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines. It is considered one of the most important private institutions of Philippine art and culture.
Envisioned in the 1950s by Filipino abstract painter Fernando Zobel, the Ayala Museum was established in 1967 under the auspices of Ayala Foundation, Inc. It began as a museum of Philippine history and iconography, and transformed itself into a museum of fine arts and history as the 20th century drew to a close.
“Re-collecting the past, re-presenting the future” best describes the Ayala Museum’s dual role as a museum of history and of art. As a service to the nation the Museum works hard to bring home—“re-collect the past”—many of the country’s material treasures that have wound up in various parts of the World. This way, Filipinos who may have seen these priceless objects only in pictures, or who may not even be aware that they existed, will have the chance to view them up close, and in their homeland.
Aside from the permanent collections, the Ayala Museum also plays host to changing exhibitions, which may feature the works of young visual artists, ethnographic items, major art pieces on loan from private or foreign collectors, or historical photographs. These unique exhibitions exemplify the Ayala Museum’s embrace of the old and the new, the local and the global, the traditional and the progressive.
At M Café, art is also celebrated, albeit the edible kind. Located at the ground floor and overlooking a beautifully landscaped garden, M Café features modern interpretations of traditional Asian food. Modeled after Parisian bistros where artist-types hang out, M Café is a gathering spot for souls passionate about art and culture, as well as sophisticated fusion food.
The museum is also an ideal venue for special events, such as conferences, open-air concerts and programs, and cocktail or dinner receptions. It has a spacious and elegant lobby, state-of-the-art conference and meeting rooms, a glassed-in gallery, and a plaza surrounded by a Zen-inspired garden.
- The Diorama Experience: Sixty handcrafted dioramas form the core of Ayala Museum’s historical collections and chronicle the rich tapestry of Philippine history. The exhibition highlights major events and themes from prehistoric times to the recognition of Philippine independence by the United States in 1946.
- Maritime Vessels: The museum also houses a one-of-a-kind boat gallery showcasing miniatures of the different watercrafts that plied the Philippine seas and contributed to the development of Philippine maritime trade and colonial economy.
- Pioneers of Philippine Art: One hundred years of Philippine art from the late 19th to the 20th century in the works of Luna, Amorsolo, and Zobel. Fernando Zobel was born in Manila in 1924, the youngest child of Enrique Zobel de Ayala, patron of the artist Fernando Amorsolo.
- Gold of Ancestors: This exhibition of more than one thousand gold objects celebrates the sophisticated cultures that existed in the Philippines before colonization in the 16th century. Many of the precious objects here were recovered in association with 10th to 13th century Chinese export ceramics.
- Embroidered Multiples: The exhibition features selections from the Leiden National Museum of Ethnology’s collection of Philippine garments acquired from the French diplomat Bréjard, who served in Manila from 1881 to 1886. The collection includes rare, embroidered silk trousers or sayasaya worn by Philippine elite men, formerly known only through 19th-century watercolor images.
- A Millennium of Contact: Chinese and Southeast Asian ceramics found in the Philippines tell the story of how the country forged social and commercial ties with China and its neighbors. This display of more than 500 ceramics provides one of the most comprehensive surveys of Chinese and Southeast Asian trade wares found in the Philippines, spanning a thousand years.