The Bureau of Cultural Heritage shared the progress of the “Inventory and Digital Archiving of the Railway Station Floor Plans in Colonial Taiwan” project at the National Taiwan Museum on March 21.
The project, which has been carried out by the National Cheng Kung University’s C-Hub creative base, began in 1998 when floor plans and drawings of major train stations – including those based in Keelung, Taipei, Hsinchu, Taichung, Chiayi, Tainan, and Kaohsiung during the Japanese colonial era – were found at the Railway Division of Taiwan Governor-General's Bureau of Transportation.
As the railway had shaped the spatial structures and city landscapes in modern Taiwan, the findings serve as the best testimony to Taiwan’s urban development as well as advancements in architecture and transportation.
In the first phase of the project, the Bureau has partnered with the National Cheng Kung University’s architecture and history departments and the Tainan National University of the Arts’ Graduate Institute of Conservation of Cultural Relics and Museology, which assisted the project with their analysis, restoration, and preservation expertise.
The Bureau has also collaborated with the National Taiwan Museum to build a digital archive system to store historical documents and open up its collection for research, education, and other open applications.
Deputy Culture Minister Dr. Pierre Tzu-pao Yang (楊子葆) noted that the Ministry is currently renovating the Taipei Railway Workshop to become the headquarters of the upcoming National Railway Museum. The task includes restoring the buildings and collecting artifacts for display. It will also construct a world-class cloud database to digitize railway collections.
Following the development of digitization and network applications, it has become a world trend to preserve, manage, and share cultural assets by incorporating traditional museums with digital databases, added Deputy Minister Yang.
Through cloud technology, the museum’s collection can engage the world and allow users to access and interact from a distance, while the Taiwanese museum can connect with its worldwide counterparts through the internet.
In the future, the National Railway Museum will not only become Taiwan’s first museum that embraces cloud-based digital archives under the Ministry of Culture, but also develop into a world-leading resource hub for railway history.