Control Yuan members slam museum over plan

By Hsieh Chun-lin and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Tue, Sep 03, 2019 - Page 3

Control Yuan members Chang Kuei-mei (仉桂美) and Bau Tzong-ho (包宗和) on Sunday censured the National Palace Museum over the execution of its New National Palace Museum Plan and called for improvements.

The plan, which was approved by the Executive Yuan in 2017 and launched last year, covers three projects: a renovation and expansion project at the museum’s northern branch in Taipei, the construction of a restoration and exhibition space for national treasures at its southern branch in Chiayi County, and the establishment of an online system to show foreign visitors the nation’s museums.

The plan has been in the works for nearly two years, but its execution and the use of its NT$9.13 billion (US$290.7 million) budget are behind schedule, the Control Yuan members said.

The museum has yet to select a bidder to manage the renovation and expansion of its northern branch, leaving issues such as how its artifacts are to be protected, displayed and moved during construction up in the air, they said.

The museum’s original plan to close its northern branch for three years during renovations caused a backlash, they said, adding that the current plan is to continue hosting exhibitions while construction is under way.

The museum also came under public scrutiny after former museum director Chen Chi-nan (陳其南) publicly discussed plans to turn the museum into an “Eastern literature hall,” even though the plans had not gone through a professional evaluation or the museum’s decisionmaking process, they said.

The museum clarified by saying that Chen’s comments reflected his personal views and that the plans had not been included in any approved policy plans, the Control Yuan members said, adding that this demonstrated that the museum’s administrative mechanism is “rash” and “inadequate.”

Addressing the frequent exchange of artifacts between the museum’s northern and southern branches, the Control Yuan members said that the artifacts are “highly fragile,” and that the risks involved during moving should be minimized.

They asked the museum to fulfill its legal responsibility of protecting publicly owned artifacts in its collection.