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Contested histories – International Museum Day in Taiwan
Contested histories – International Museum Day in Taiwan

The Ministry of Culture will celebrate International Museum Day by holding a series of events reflecting the 2017 theme of “Museums and contested histories: Saying the unspeakable in museums.”

The Ministry has connected twelve institutions, including the Preparatory Office of the National Human Rights Museum, the National Museum of History, the National Taiwan Museum, the National Museum of Taiwan Literature, and Taipei 228 Memorial Museum, to participate in the international event on May 18.

The series of events will explore the unspeakable or controversial incidents in Taiwanese history, such as the February 28 Incident, White Terror, comfort women, and the lifting of martial law. It will also explore social movements, ethnic rights, and environmental protests through educational events.

In a press conference on May 10, Deputy Culture Minister Dr. Pierre Tzu-pao Yang noted that while it has been 30 years since the lifting of martial law, the International Council of Museums (ICOM) has been promoting International Museum Day for 40 years.

Yen Bao-yue (顏寶月), director-general of the Lifelong Education Division of the Ministry of Education, then encouraged members of the public to visit museums to learn the stories behind each exhibited item.

To highlight the importance of museums in preserving a country’s memories, Musemic (繆斯麥), a band formed by students at the National Sun Yat-sen University, performed the Taiwanese folk song “Spring Wind (望春風)” at the press conference.

The performance was followed by a storyteller who shared four stories on Taiwan’s camphor collection during the Japanese colonial period, the portrait of Chang Wu-qu (張武曲) by painter Li Mei-shu (李梅樹), the February 228 Incident, and the collection of items from the Weiguan Jinlong building, which collapsed in Tainan following a magnitude-6.4 earthquake last year.

During the press conference, a poster of black cubes was opened by five guests, revealing colorful cubes inside that embody stories of museums, whereas the dark-colored outer cubes represent the historical events and issues to be unveiled, discussed, and eventually reconciled through museum collections.

Additional online exhibitions will be launched by the Ministry of Culture to tell the untold stories of museum collections. Independent museums across Taiwan will also provide different programs to encourage the public to celebrate International Museum Day together.

For more information, please visit www.518imd.tw.



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