Tue, Nov 13, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Renovations to close national museum

ALTERNATIVE VENUES:Taipei mayoral candidate Pasuya Yao said the three-year closure would affect tourism, so the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall should be used

By Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff writer, with CNA

National Palace Museum Director Chen Chi-nan listens to lawmakers at a meeting of the Education and Culture Committee at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times

The National Palace Museum in Taipei is planning to close for renovations for three years beginning at the end of 2020, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Ko Chih-en (柯志恩) said yesterday.

Museum Director Chen Chi-nan (陳其南) delivered a report to the Education and Culture Committee at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei and Ko said that documents given to her during a question-and-answer session by museum staff showed that the museum’s library would close on July 1 following an exhibition featuring works by artist Chang Dai-chien (張大千).

The museum’s main building is expected to close at the end of 2020 and be cleared out starting in 2021, with renovation work to take place in 2022 and 2023, she said.

The museum, which houses a wide collection and attracts nearly 5 million visitors each year — the majority of them foreign tourists — has not closed since it was founded, she said.

Ko expressed concern over whether the museum had measures in place for a closure of such magnitude.

The New National Palace Museum Plan documents that the Taipei branch would undergo renovation and expansion work, Chen said, adding, however, that the document did not outline the schedule, as it was not ready when the document was written.

Almost all of the museum’s buildings are to be renovated, he said.

He said museum staff have experience hosting exhibitions and operating amid construction and the consensus was that they would not repeat that experience.

Asked by Ko to clarify whether artifacts at the Taipei branch would be moved to the National Palace Museum Southern Branch in Taibao City (太保), Chiayi County, during the three-year closure, Chen said the museum considers both branches to be part of the museum, so regardless of the duration of renovations — be it three years or five — it would not be a closure, but rather a change of venues.

The museum hopes to attract more foreign visitors to the southern branch, Chen said, adding that while three-quarters of visitors to the Taipei museum are foreigners, the southern branch struggles in this regard.

Separately yesterday, Chiayi County Commissioner Helen Chang (張花冠) said she proposed years ago that the museum’s items be exhibited at the southern branch.

The Chiayi City Government welcomes this move, she said, adding that it would bring more tourists to Chiayi and spur national development.

However, Democratic Progressive Party Taipei mayoral candidate Pasuya Yao (姚文智) yesterday echoed concerns that renovation work at the Taipei branch would affect tourism in the capital.

Yao said the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall should be converted into the museum’s second venue in Taipei.

Then it could be used to exhibit the museum’s most popular artifacts, he said.

Additional reporting by Chou Yan-yu

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