Minister of Culture Cheng Li-chiun held a press conference on May 11 in Taipei to outline how Taiwan's museums plan to honor the spirit of International Museum Day, which is celebrated annually on May 18, by expanding public access.
Each year since 1977, International Museum Day organized by the International Council of Museums (ICOM) has taken on different themes looking at the contemporary significance of museums, with this year's theme being "Hyperconnected museums: New approaches, new publics."
In line with this, the Taipei press conference titled "Diverse, friendly, fair: Engaging more people with accessible museums" urged museums to pay more attention to non-core audiences through the use of technology and other avenues to present their collections and foster new interactions between cultural institutions and the public.
Minister Cheng went on to explain how the Ministry helps promote museums, and outlined the roles that various museums would play on this International Museum Day. After the 2015 passage of the Museum Act, the Ministry of Culture created a "goodwill ambassador" for Taiwan’s museums ― a cartoon Formosan sika deer named A-bo ― whose job is to help introduce Taiwan's museums and diverse cultures to the public.
To ensure equality of cultural access, the Ministry has also guided museums to invest in infrastructure and human resources to offer friendlier, more accessible services, including touchable replicas of artworks for visually impaired visitors. Working with the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Culture has also created guided tours for student groups to implement experiential cultural education.
With regard to innovation, one example is the Daxi Wood Art Ecomuseum, which is made up of several sites incorporated into the local streets, bringing visitors closer to the real local culture. In addition to such physical innovations, technology is also being used to make museums more accessible to the general public.
The "Taiwan Tales" program of the Ministry’s Department of Cultural Resources, for instance, helps the public to browse cultural relics from around the country on their phones, while "Story Taiwan" transforms museum content and historical materials into creative content.
This year, the Ministry of Culture is collaborating with the Ministry of Education, the National Palace Museum, and the Chinese Association of Museums to connect museums and cultural centers around Taiwan to offer special deals and hold events this May.
These include free admissions, special events, and store discounts on May 18, with everyone welcomed to take part. For more event details and information, please visit the "International Museum Day in Taiwan" website and Facebook page.