On Sept. 4, the Ministry of Culture held a special presentation at the National Taiwan Museum's Nanmen Park in Taipei, presenting a collection of historical materials from the era of Japanese rule over Taiwan and its impact on modern efforts to preserve railway cultural heritage.
For this project, the Ministry has commissioned a team from National Cheng Kung University to carry out restoration and digitization work on architectural plans for seven major Japanese-era train stations. This is the first step in concerted efforts to reconstruct Taiwan's railway history.
There are also plans underway by the Ministry to combine venues like the Taihoku Railway Bureau and the Taipei Railway Workshop into one entity, giving the public a more comprehensive vision of Taiwan's railway history and making the preservation of Taiwan's railway cultural heritage more thorough.
The foundation of this project is the collection of architectural and engineering plans, along with management booklets, on seven major railway stations in Japanese-era Taiwan that was discovered in 1998 at the old Taihoku Railway Bureau headquarters.
The seven stations concerned are Kiron (now Keelung), Taihoku (Taipei), Shinchiku (Hsinchu), Taichu (Taichung), Kagi (Chiayi), Tainan, and Takao (Kaohsiung). A total of 439 images were flattened out and digitized, with 11 of these blueprints (covering all seven stations) on show at the Sept. 4 event. Also showcased were three of the precious original documents.
The event focused primarily on the design of the seven stations, with a seminar held exploring issues involving the restoration of paper items, the history of Taiwanese rail, and railway architecture. Three sessions were held on each of these topics, with scholars and experts invited to present their academic findings or give talks sharing their experiences and what they have learned.
The Ministry of Culture intends to continue promoting this valuable work of preserving and digitizing such architectural plans and making documents with architectural, historical, and cultural value more widely available through public exhibitions. Such efforts will be a valued contribution to the more complete preservation of and research into Taiwan's railway cultural heritage.