July 21, 2010
There Are More Than Just That One
Much has been written, and rightly so, about the stunning National Palace Museum (http://www.npm.gov.tw/). But there are a surprising number of other museums dotted around the island (especially in Taipei) and they are cool in more ways than one (this was written in the summer).
I'll focus on the museums that focus on Taiwan in a series of posts and the ones that are relatively easy to get to. It's worth checking the website for any changes to opening times and entrance fees, but in general museums are closed on Mondays and close at 5pm. Here's two for starters?K
You don't need to be a philatelist to enjoy this museum. It's spacious (all seven floors of it) despite the unassuming entrance (shown below), most exhibits are bilingual, and frankly (please excuse the postal pun) many of the stamps are works of art.
There are many rare stamps from the early days of the postal system in "Formosa", and exhibits tracing the history of the postal service. There's also a fair sized collection of coins and notes from around the world.
If you are into stamps then I would say this is a must, but even if you aren't the history is interesting. And it's tremendous value. Entrance to the museum will cost you less than the price of a stamp (currently NT$5, yes five Taiwan dollars).
Close to the train station (and right next to the NTU Hospital MRT station one stop down from the CKS station) is this majestic building. Purpose built to be a museum during the Japanese occupation around 1915, the building itself is perhaps as interesting as the exhibits.
Although it has undergone several restorations, you do get the feel that it was built during colonial times. The central hall is surrounded by 32 towering pillars and black marble walls. Grand carpeted staircases lead up to the second and third floors, and looking up you'll see the dome which dominates the building.
There are special exhibitions which are shown on the website as well as permanent ones, most notably Taiwan's Indigenous Creatures and Indigenous Peoples of Taiwan. Unfortunately these did not have English translations, but it's still worth a look.
The special exhibition when I went (on the camphor industry in Taiwan which runs until October 15th) did a good job with the English though, and I suspect subsequent exhibitions will do also.
Given its location, you will almost certainly be close at some stage during your trip, and I would highly recommend adding it to your itinerary. It isn't huge so children won't get bored, and it's also situated in the 228 Park in case they need a run around afterwards. You can even bribe them with a trip to the 72 flavor ice cream shop (more on this in the next post as it isn't the easiest place to find so I will provide a map as long as I can find it again!)
Oh and entry cost? Well it does cost four times as much as the Postal Museum, but at NT$20 I still think it's great value.
If you have heard of any museums that you would like to me to review, drop me a line via the contact page.
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