Fri, Jul 08, 2016 - Page 5 News List

Cultural awareness, government drive spurring museum growth in Tainan

By Liu Wan-jyun and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Collapsed-Style Inner Sea Story House is seen in Madou Old Harbor Cultural and Creative Park in Tainan on Tuesday.

Photo: Liu Wan-chun, Taipei Times

Of the 399 local culture museums in the nation, 41 are located in Tainan, the greatest concentration of any locality nationwide, statistics showed.

Locals’ cultural awareness, the city government’s drive to establish museums and contributions from the private sector are cited among the reasons behind the prevalence of museums in Tainan — the city that has a reputation as the cultural capital of the nation.

Since the Ministry of Culture began promoting its “Local Cultural Museums Project” in 2002, Tainan has seen the establishment of 26 publicly funded and 15 privately funded museums, compared with the number of museums established in Kaohsiung (28), Taichung (22) and Yilan County (20).

“As the public gains greater awareness of the uniqueness of their local culture, we are also seeing an increase in the number of folk museums,” Tainan Bureau of Cultural Affairs Director Yeh Tse-shan (葉澤山) said.

Tainan’s museums include the Taiwan Blackfoot Disease Socio-Medical Service Memorial House, on the site of a former clinic in Beimen District (北門) run by Wang King-ho (王金河), a doctor popularly known as the “Father of Blackfoot Disease.”

As the first medical-themed museum in Taiwan, it commemorates the introduction of podiatric medicine to Chiayi and Tainan counties in 1957. Its operation is supported by the Wang King-ho Culture and Arts Foundation.

Established by Kang Wun-rong (康文榮) and the Tainan Sinhua District Office, the Yang Kuei Culture Memorial Hall celebrates the literary works of prominent novelist Yang Kui (楊逵), who lived during the Japanese colonial period.

Yang’s most famous work, The Newspaper Man (新聞配達夫), was first written in Japanese. The hall also features a special exhibit to commemorate actor Ou Wei (歐威), a two-time recipient of the Golden Horse Best Actor award.

Meanwhile, the Collapsed-Style Inner Sea Story House in the Madou Old Harbor Cultural and Creative Park has a unique facade that gives first-time visitors the impression that it is ready to topple over.

The style combines the use of red bricks found in Han and Hokkien architecture with bamboo pipes used in traditional Siraya structures. The visual effect is reminiscent of a boat entering or leaving the harbor.

The story house is operated by the Yeh Arts Center and houses cultural relics excavated from the area, putting locals in touch with the cultures of those who lived there before them.

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