Discover the history of Taiwan as told by maps, everyday objects, and other artifacts from the collection of the National Museum of Taiwan History.
Every museum artifact has a story which can tell us something important about the age in which it was produced. Leveraging the collection of the National Museum of Taiwan History, this three-volume series promotes greater public understanding of Taiwan’s complex history through the lens of physical artifacts.
The first volume, A Spatial History, explores how people from around the world have depicted and imagined this island nation through thirty maps produced from the 16th to the 21st centuries. Each map is a representative of a certain view of Taiwan, delineating political, ethnic, and cultural boundaries, while also providing a springboard from which to explore the richly diverse social spaces that emerged through the transcendence of those boundaries.
In volume two, The Ordinary and the Extraordinary of Museum Artifacts, thirty ordinary objects help to illuminate the relationship between the lives of common people and the historical eras in which they lived. Whether these objects were used in funerals, weddings, and celebrations, or in everyday life; or they were specific to times of war, upheaval, and martial law, all were integral parts of the lives of real people who experienced Taiwan’s history first-hand.
Volume three, Life Stories, makes use of thirty artifacts from the museum’s collection to highlight Taiwan’s human diversity, spanning the categories of class, ethnicity, gender, and historical era. From English ornithologist John Gould to the Taiwanese subjects of the Empire of Japan, each object unveils the complex web of cultural influences that run throughout Taiwan’s history, and shaped the identities of the island’s inhabitants.
Visualizing Taiwan was produced through the collaborative efforts of researchers and writers from the National Museum of Taiwan History. Combining scientific and historical methods, the series uses the tangible artifacts to provide an accessible new angle on Taiwan history.