The Museum Mentorship program, now in its 8th year, will undergo several major changes according to a joint announcement made by the National Taiwan Museum and the Indigenous Peoples Cultural Development Center on Sept. 12.
The alterations include expanding the original collaborative model of "Big Museum Leading Small Museum” to "Two Big Museums Leading Several Small Museums.” Moreover, the curative focus will switch from "returning cultural relics home” to "reproducing and remaking local cultural relics through joint curation.”
Therefore, a total of sixteen local cultural museums with an indigenous focus will be joining the Museum Mentorship 2.0 program with resources supported by two national-level museums this year.
The National Taiwan Museum and the Indigenous Peoples Cultural Development Center first launched the mentorship program in 2009, facilitating the display of 262 indigenous relics at a series of exhibitions co-curated by a national museum and a local cultural museum.
This unique collaborative model is a pioneering approach for museums in Taiwan. Senior tribesmen are now invited to examine and select items from national museum collections, and the display of such loaned items at local museums is subsequently planned according to their interpretation of the relics.
Over the past 8 years, the steadfast partnerships have induced considerable transformations in the operations of local museums in Taiwan. Some have changed from passively displaying loaned relics to actively exploring local cultural assets, enriching their own collections, and lending their new-found items to national museums for display.
Other local museums have invited local craftspeople and aspiring artists to repair or reproduce certain cultural relics when exhibitions are held in their hometowns.
The first major collaboration under the Museum Mentorship 2.0 program will be a workshop called "Reproducing Traditional Hats & Ornaments,” in which traditional hat ornaments of different tribes made by each participating local museum will be entered into the collections of the National Taiwan Museum and the Indigenous Peoples Cultural Development Center.
In the first part of the workshop, the headdresses of Taiwan's Paiwan, Amis, Atayal, Tsou, Saisiyat, Bunun, Rukai, Puyuma, Truku, Hla'alua, and Kanakavu tribes will be reproduced. Tribal elders or craftspeople will also be invited to hold courses teaching the creation of hat ornaments for each tribe.