After almost five decades, the National Planetarium is temporarily closing its doors and is gearing for the decommissioning of its building in the central section of Rizal Park in Manila, the National Museum of the Philippines announced on Monday.
Through a Facebook post, the National Museum revealed plans for the National Planetarium, which was inaugurated in 1975, to be developed under the supervision of the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC).
“It is, with a measure of sadness, fondness and nostalgia – but also with anticipation and excitement for its future, that we announce the temporary closure of the National Planetarium as an institution and the decommissioning of its 46 year-old premises in the central section of Rizal Park, Manila,” National Museum’s statement read.
“This is to give way to the development plans of the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC) in the central and western sections of Rizal Park, at the same time as the National Museum of the Philippines has taken over the eastern section of Rizal Park – where the National Museum of Anthropology and National Museum of Natural History around Agrifina Circle are located – with development plans of our own in this area for the National Museum Complex (including the adjacent area on which the National Museum of Fine Arts stands) as mandated by our charter, Republic Act No. 11333,” it continued.
Despite the closure, the National Museum remains hopeful that “a new National Planetarium truly worthy of the name in our present time” will see light.
“Stand by for the announcement of our plans, currently in the development stage, for a new National Planetarium […] which will be designed to serve the public well for many more decades to come with the unique experience that only a world-class planetarium can provide,” it said.
After being shuttered for more than a year due to the pandemic, the National Planetarium reopened its doors to the public last July. Prior to reopening, it underwent two major upgrades in 2017 and 2019, the first of which saw the installation of the new full-dome planetary projector and the state-of-the-art Goto hybrid projector, the first of its kind in the Philippines.