Burton Holt has been visiting the Philippines for over 50 years, first in the U.S. Navy and then for many years as a merchant seaman. He began collecting Philippine ethnographic material in 1973, first baskets and textiles and then all manner of artifacts. He retired from the sea in 1995 and shortly after that started a company importing contemporary Philippine decorative materials. At the same time he collected antique furniture and travelled to Cebu, Mindanao, Leyte, Bohol, Negros, Panay and sourcing antiques.
He has loaned Philippine material to the Wing Luke Museum, the Washington State History Museum, the Seattle Art Museum, the Yuchengco museum in Makati and in 2013 three pieces he had collected were included in the landmark show at the Musee du Quay Branly in Paris. Titled "Philippines an Archipelago of Exchange" this exhibit was the first in a major European museum to focus on the arts of the Philippines.
After collecting for 40 plus years Captain Holt has recently had a large number of pieces purchased by a new museum being built in Manila, very gratifiying for him to see this material returning home where it will be appreciated by the people who created these wonderful objects. He and his wife Emily feel honored to be a part of this celebration of Philippine culture