By Stephanie Chao, the Eye on Taiwan staff writer
In celebration of International Museum Day on May 18, Taiwan’s 72 museums are banding together under the theme of promoting diversity and equality for more people to appreciate museums with discounts and free admissions.
The theme of this year’s International Museum Day is “Hyperconnected museums: New approaches, new public.” Their aim is to raise awareness that museums are an “important medium for cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among the people,” according to their official website.
Taiwan’s 72 museums, ranging from the big to local cultural centers from northern, southern, eastern and central Taiwan, have rolled out discounts and events this month, including the north and south branches of National Palace Museum, Taitung National Museum of Prehistory, Taichung National Museum of Natural Science. These museums offer free admissions and discounts on May 18 to commemorate the day.
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Information regarding discounts and events offered by Taiwan’s museums can be found on Chinese Association of Museums’ website or Facebook (518國際博物館日活動網頁).
Chinese Association of Museums President and National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts Director Hsiao Tsung-huang said in the festival’s opening ceremony that their proactive celebration of the day is based on hopes of allowing the public to reflect the social responsibilities a museum can provide, as well as consider what a museum can offer to society.
Minister of Culture Cheng Li-chiun said how museums present their exhibits is a cultural perspective as well, which also implies how a society views culture and the angle in which how the society reflects itself.
Cheng shared how Musee de Quai Branly, a French museum, moved away from “Euro-centric” exhibits by promoting exhibits themed outside the European sphere through more traditional arts.
She also offered hopes that International Museum Day would not be just a day for discounts and free viewing, but also an opportunity for visitors to consider the meaning and functions of a museum in the modern day.