On a regular day, Tainan goes to sleep at about 9pm, but Nov. 17 was different. A grandiose wedding was held at the Tainan Art Museum, and Youai Street, Nanmen Road and the area near the National Museum of Taiwan Literature and the Chianan Irrigation Association were full of excited fans late into the night.
Halfway through the event, Taiwanese model and actress Lin Chi-ling (林志玲) and Japanese dancer Akira appeared on the second floor balcony, greeting fans as love filled the air and city councilors’ protests at her being allowed to marry in a historical building were all but forgotten.
Some media outlets reported that when Lin waved at her fans, there was the air of a royal wedding, and everyone hoped that the prince and princess would live happily ever after.
Stars often prefer to marry in luxurious small islands with a small number of VIPs in attendance. If not on an island, they still pick luxury hotels in some secret, secluded place together with friends, politicians, business tycoons, and celebrities, far away from ordinary people.
Lin, however, was different: she descended from the stars, stepped out of the silver screen and walked among ordinary people, returning to her father’s hometown, where her parents’ love story began.
Furthermore, she chose a museum, which is very rare, and piqued the interest of those who wanted to see what a museum wedding would be like.
There were reports that every hotel and bed-and-breakfast in Tainan was booked out and Lin, unexpectedly, promoted Tainan tourism. It was an extraordinarily harmonious and beautiful experience to see her and her husband stand at the museum’s entrance to let fans take pictures and to receive their well-wishes.
Whether museums — great educational symbols — can serve as wedding venues and whether wedding banquets can be held in historical buildings is worth further discussion. After all, as long as it does not damage the building or affect pictures, paintings or cultural relics, using such venues for other activities after business hours is becoming a trend among museums.
Judging from Lin and Akira’s pictures and news reports, the banquet was held in the central hall at the museum’s Hall 1, an ingenious way to eliminate the risk to the historical artifacts.
The main building of Tainan Art Museum Hall 1, a designated municipal historic site, was completed in 1931 and originally housed the Tainan Police Department. Together with Hall 2, it is in the West Central District (中西區), making it one of a cluster of museums in the Minsheng Green Park Cultural Zone, together with the National Museum of Taiwan Literature, the Judicial Museum, the Yeh Shyr-Tau Literary Memorial Museum and the Tainan City Fire Museum. It is also close to the Confucius Temple and the Hayashi department store, and a good place to visit, infused with culture as it is.
The couple’s wedding day coincided with a forum on museums at the National Museum of Taiwan Literature, just across from the Tainan Art Museum.
As the news of the wedding spread, visitor numbers shot up. It is worth discussing if museums, in addition to their collections and educational, research and leisure functions, can also serve other purposes.
Chen Yuchen is a research assistant at the National Museum of Taiwan Literature.
Translated by Perry Svensson
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