Sun, May 26, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Private museum celebrating activist Lin Hsien-tang opens in Taichung

By Chen Chien-chih and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Ming Tai High School chairwoman Lin Fang-ying on Thursday points to wooden chairs with shell inlays at the school’s Lin Hsien-tang Museum in Taichung’s Wufeng district.

Photo: Chen Chien-chih, Taipei Times

A private museum in Taichung dedicated to Lin Hsien-tang (林獻堂), a politician and activist who advocated self-rule, is to have its grand opening today, the city’s Cultural Affairs Bureau said.

Experts have vetted the Lin Hsien-tang Museum’s substantial collection of artifacts for authenticity and historical value according to the Museum Act (博物館法), the bureau said on Tuesday.

The private museum is the first of its kind in the city and the second in the nation, it added.

As a leading voice in petitioning the former Japanese empire to establish a Taiwanese parliament, Lin earned the nicknames “Father of the Taiwanese Parliament” and “Taiwan’s First Citizen,” said Lin Fang-ying, chairwoman of Ming Tai High School, which founded the museum.

A descendent of Lin Hsien-tang, she had collected more than 10,000 objects linked to him and the Lin clan, she said, adding that she donated them to the memorial wing the school had dedicated to him.

The museum’s opening would coincide with the 70th anniversary of the high school, which Lin Hsien-tang cofounded with other gentry from Taichung, she said.

For the past two years, the school has planned to upgrade the Lin Hsien-tang memorial wing into a proper museum, increasing its floorspace from 100 ping (331m2) to 250 ping and tripling the collection of artifacts, she said.

The collection contains items such as Lin Hsien-tang’s diary, manuscripts and other historical documents of note, including calligraphy by renowned Chinese philosopher Liang Qichao (梁啟超) created in 1911 to mark his visit to the Lin residence, she said.

Other antiques — such as a 150-year-old camphor cabinet, chairs with shell inlays, a redwood bed, utensils and deeds belonging to the Lin clan — deal broadly with the material culture of the late Qing Dynasty and Japanese colonial eras, she said.

The museum is awaiting several explanatory labels for the artifacts, she said, adding that the school’s board of trustees hopes they will provide young Taiwanese with insight into the history that forms their shared heritage.

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