The Museo Dabawenyo is one of the Divisions under the City Mayor’s Office of the City Government of Davao established through City Ordinance No. 0266-06 Series of 2006. It is being run in collaboration with the private sector. It is a “people’s museum” and its programs are geared towards better historical and cultural awareness, understanding and integration.
The Museo Dabawenyo is the former Court of First Instance of Davao City constructed in 1953 along Magallanes Street now A. Pichon Street. In 1993, when the court transferred to Ecoland, it became the office of the Davao City Disaster Coordinating Council.
In 2005, Mrs. Soledad “Nanay Soling” Duterte spearheaded the creation of a Museo Dabawenyo Project Team headed by Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte and with working committees composed of selected City Government officials together with experts in the field of architecture, history, culture and arts from the private sector. This team was tasked to do the conceptualization and planning for the museum, including the reconstruction and restoration of the old CFI building where the museum will be built.
In 2005, the building was demolished to make way for the construction of the museum the following year. The museum building was completed in 2007. On November 15, 2006, Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte signed into law City Ordinance No. 266-06, “An Ordinance Establishing the Museo Dabawenyo, Providing for its Permanent Home and for Other Purposes”. The ordinance was sponsored by then Councilor Susan Isabel Reta, the Chairman of the Committee on Tourism and Beautification.
The museum was formally opened on March 14, 2008 during the 71st Araw ng Dabaw Celebration. The Chief-of-Staff of Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte, Ms. Patricia Melizza B. Ruivivar concurrently served as Officer-in-Charge, Museum Director, with Mr. Richard D. Vilar and Mr. Orly L. Escarrilla of the City Tourism Operations Office handling the showcase and administrative concerns respectively. Later, Mr. Roland Victor Fortun was hired as Acting Head of Research, Information and Dissemination.
Most of the artifacts on exhibit during the first few months of operations were donations from Ms. Baby Babao of the Davao Historical Society, Kaliwat Theater Collective, paintings of Mr. Mark Tolentino and some collections of Mr. Ven Gallego and Architect Jose Racho. Students of Philippine Women’s University of Davao painted a seascape and a landscape that served as backdrop of the Indigenous and Muslim Peoples Galleries.