Nat’l Museum clarifies ‘plastering’ in Fort yarn PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 02 November 2014 14:42

The conservation process in Fort Pilar is correct and complies with restoration standards.

This was highlighted by National Museum Director Jeremy Barns in a press conference Thursday, October 30, to clarify the ongoing restoration and conservation work being undertaken by the National Museum at the Zamboanga National Museum in Fort Pilar, specifically on the application of the paletada layer over the exterior brick wall structures.

“When it comes to brick structures, the proper way [for conservation] requires the reapplication of plaster,” said Barns.

The plaster layer, also known as the paletada, serves as a protective barrier to prevent the further deterioration of the bricks, which have been weathered by time and natural elements. It also addresses the structural issues of the Fort where the erosion of the brick walls proceeded at an alarming rate.

Such was the degree of erosion and damage that in previous years, certain areas in the Fort were closed off because it was deemed unstable and dangerous to the public.

Barns added that the shrine, with its exposed bricks, is a relatively recent appearance.

“There is no brick structure in the Philippines that was built in the Spanish colonial era that wasn’t originally covered in plaster,” he noted.

Based on historical documents, and photos from national archives and records, the brick wall structures within the Fort Pilar were originally layered and plastered in white.

The loss of these layers over time was responsible for the severe deterioration and erosion of the brick walls.

Past repair work included the use of cement to “plug” spaces between the bricks but Barns said this only worsened the existing problems of deterioration.

“We were very clear on what needed to be done to protect the walls,” said Barns.

The objective of the restoration effort is to restore the surviving structures of the Fort to their original appearance in the 1880s and 1890s. According to Barns, the National Musuem hopes to showcase Zamboanga National Museum as a flagship project, featuring complete restoration and sustainable maintenance.

With funding from the General Appropriations Act, the scope of work for the Zamboanga Museum will not only include the conservation of the exterior brick wall but also the upgrading of water systems, and wirings, and development of new exhibits and other facilities.

“The appearance of the structure is only one component of the whole [restoration process],” Barns said. Work on other components will continue as to be able to complete the restoration in time for the projected re-launch of the museum next year.

Meanwhile, Mayor Beng Climaco has tasked the City Council to coordinate closely with the restoration team of the National Museum.

In an effort to promote public awareness on the restoration of the museum in Fort Pilar, Climaco likewise directed the Local Council of Culture, Arts and History to come up with a showcase of the restoration process for educational purposes.

“The work will be retained as it is, but there will be portions of the protected walls that will show the old structure, and the plastering, as part of the educational process,” said Climaco.

The chief executive also asked Zamboangueños to remain united to protect the national treasures and heritage of Zamboanga City.

“In the spirit of dialogue, I ask of you to allow a process of intellectual discussion to take place,” she said. — Jasmine Mohammadsali