Monday, May 07, 2007

New Railroad Museum Planned in Downtown Taipei

The China Post reports that a new railroad museum that takes advantage of the Japanese era buildings in the city center is in the planning stage:

In an effort to revitalize Taipei City's old downtown center, the Council for Cultural Affairs (CCA) has initiated plans to renovate the historic buildings around the Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) into a grand-scale museum complex.

The museum complex will comprise of seven buildings that date back to the island's Japanese colonial period (1895-1945): the TRA building, the old Taipei maintenance yard, as well as an engineering room, power station, cafeteria, octagonal men's room, and air raid shelter that are all located in the same compound.

The TRA building was formerly the Taiwan Railway Bureau which was established in 1899 to expand the island's rail network under command of the Office of the Governor-General, the Japanese de facto central authority in Taiwan.

Of these historical sites, the old Taipei maintenance yard (now an auditorium) has been named a city-level heritage site, while the other six are national heritage sites, according to Hsiao Tsung-huang, director of the National Taiwan Museum (NTM), in charge of the repair and renovation of the buildings.

Never mind the pro-annexation China Post's description of Japanese authority on Taiwan as de facto, this is an important step forward. There are too many old Japanese-era buildings rotting away all over Taiwan. It is good to know they will be preserved. The Post goes on to note:

Once completed, the museum complex will be part of the CCA's Taiwan Museum System, which it started in an effort to renovate and reorganize the old downtown center of Taipei into three museums, the Museum of Taiwan Modernity, the Museum of Natural History, and the Museum of Taiwan Industrial History.

The site of the Railway Bureau and the former Ministry of Transportation and Communication will be incorporated in the Museum of Taiwan Modernity.

The Museum of Taiwan Natural History incorporates the former Taiwan Museum, the old Land Bank of Taiwan, and an underground exhibition space. The Museum of Taiwan Industrial History is located in the old Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corporation building and the former Taiwan Camphor Factory.

Has anyone visited the Museum of Taiwan Industrial History?


Anonymous said...

I hadn't heard that there was a Museum of Taiwan Industrial History in the old Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corporation building. Is it new, or have they just been keeping it secret?

That's a beautiful old brick building, but every time I have walked by and peeked in the door, a guard has told me I can't go in or even take photos. I assumed it had something to do with the fact that the president lives across the lane.

The last time I was looking around in the grounds of the old Taiwan Railway Bureau, I watched the workers in the process of moving the auditorium to get it out of the way of the new MRT station going in. I was amazed that they were going to such expense to move it 13 meters, but I was glad they weren't tearing it down. I also used the octagonal toliet and peeked into the conical anti-aircraft gun placement. I was shown a fresh hole that exposed the base of the original city wall which was connected to the still-standing gate nearby. Last time I walked by, I saw they have now sealed off the whole area, I guess so that curious people like me won't just walk in off the street.

old auditorium:

anti-aircraft defense (or air-raid shelter?):

bit of the city wall:


Anonymous said...

Hello Michael, I found this post because the author for Taiwan of our cultural blog wrote yestertay a post about trains. :-)and I wanted to read more about that. :-) I was happily surprised surprised about all the information that you have here in your blog.Now you have a new reader and hope more people from Spanish speaking countries will become you reader soon. I put a link to your blog frome ours. Javier

Michael Turton said...

Thanks, Javier. What is the link to your blog? I'll put it on mine.


Anonymous said...

Michael, thank you too. :-) The link is: