Tue, Dec 17, 2002 - Page 4 News List

Taipei's history exhibited in new City Hall museum

LEARN FROM THE PAST The city government yesterday unveiled a collection of artifacts and photos that trace the history of one of the fastest-built cities in the world

By Chang Yun-Ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taipei City Government yesterday inaugurated a historical and cultural museum called the Discovery Center of Taipei (台北探索館), which is located in the Taipei City Hall.

The museum promises to offer visitors a taste of the developments and vibrancy that made Taipei the city it is today.

The center shows different stages of Taipei's development, evolving from an old and isolated city that was far removed from its Chinese rulers almost 200 years ago, into a modern cosmopolitan center.

Taipei City Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) presided over the inauguration of the museum, saying that museum was established to help residents understand the city's historical background better.

The four-floor museum features exhibits of antique gates, green parks and the city's transportation system. It also illustrates the city's growing international presence.

"Visitors feel like they are embarking on journey through time to see a virtual old Taipei -- a city that had many cultural and commercial activities around Menchia (艋舺) and Dadaocheng (大稻埕) along the Tamshui River," said Shirley Chen (陳雪莉), section chief of the city's Information Department that is in charge of managing the museum.

"The installation of the five antique city gates is another feature of the old Taipei. We have the northern, eastern, western and southern gates, as well as the smaller southern gate -- but usually a city would have only four gates," Chen said.

The center is situated in the renovated former Taipei City information center in the City Hall and is equipped with advanced interactive exhibition facilities.

One of the more interesting installations is an interactive map featuring Taipei in 1654. The map is designed with a touch-screen template that highlights the areas where native Taiwanese lived throughout the years.

Understanding history

* The four-floor museum features exhibits such as antique gates and a `piece of Da-an Park.'

* It is equipped with advanced interactive exhibition facilities.

* Visitors can experience the smells of old Taipei by sniffing exhibits of the lemon grass and camphor that used to be among the most popular trading products on the Tamshui River.


Visitors can also experience the smells of old Taipei by sniffing exhibits of the lemon grass and camphor that used to be among the most popular trading products on the Tamshui River.

On the third floor is a gallery that exhibits Taipei's modern era, including the changing visage of the Hsinyi district, as it changed from rural rice paddies into the city center it is today -- in less than 20 years. Also included in the gallery are exhibits of the development of Chunghsiao East Road and Tunhua South Road, as well as a recreated part of Da-an Forest Park that lies next to Hsinsheng South Road.

The second floor of the museum features the city's ongoing activities and exhibitions, while the first floor exhibits daily scenes in Taipei and recordings of people's impression of the city.

The museum is situated at the right side of the main gate of the Taipei City Hall. It is open from 9am to 7pm from Monday to Friday. Admission is free and groups of more than 30 can ask for a tour guide.

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