Museums' role shifting to include social responsibility: official

2019/05/15 21:49:53 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Deputy Culture Minister Hsiao Tsung-huang (4th from left) and other government officials attended a press conference to mark this year's International Museum Day.

Deputy Culture Minister Hsiao Tsung-huang (4th from left) and other government officials attended a press conference to mark this year's International Museum Day.

Taipei, May 15 (CNA) Museums in Taiwan must focus more on social responsibility, rather than on displays only, in keeping with global trends, Deputy Culture Minister Hsiao Tsung-huang (蕭宗煌) said Wednesday ahead of International Museum Day.

At a press conference, Hsiao noted that the theme for this year's International Museum Day on May 18 is "Museums as Cultural Hubs: the Future of Tradition," which conveys the idea of museums as centers of creativity and knowledge.

In the past, the function of a museum was to collect and display items for the education of people, but now it must think more about social responsibility so that it can contribute to the future of the human race, Hsiao said.

Meanwhile, in keeping with theme of International Museum Day this year, National Taiwan Museum (NTM) said it will highlight the results of a three dimensional scan of its historic architecture.

Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Culture

The 3D digital images of the interior and exterior of the main NTM building and Land Bank Exhibition Hall are accurate to within three to five millimeters and can be used in animation, film or online navigation systems to show the historic significance of the museum, according to NTM Director Hung Shih-yu (洪世佑).

He said a similar 3D scan of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris has proved invaluable now that sections of it have to be rebuilt in the wake of a fire on April 15.

The digital scan of the 856-year-old cathedral was done by Belgian art historian Andrew Tallon, using a special laser technology, which will provide precise data to the people who will rebuild it, Hung said.

NTM is also a national monument that one day will become a classic exhibition site in its own right, he said.

The oldest museum in Taiwan, NTM was established in 1908 as the Taiwan Governor Museum by the then Japanese colonial government to commemorate the opening of Taiwan's west coast railway, according to the NTM website.

International Museum Day was launched in 1977 by the International Council of Museums with the goal of conserving cultural heritage and promoting events and activities around the world, according to the council's website.

Taiwan has been observing and celebrating International Museum Day since 2009.

This year, 49 museums around the country, including National Palace Museum and NTM, will offer free admission on May 18, according to the culture ministry.

(By Chao Ching-yu and William Yen)
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