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February 28 Memorial Museum reopens with digital material

By Eva Tang

President Ma Ying-jeou, center; on his right, Deputy Mayor Allen Chiu Wen-Hsiang, and Hsieh Hsiao-yun, Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs plus other guests cut the ribbon at the inauguration of the 228 Memorial Museum. (Photo courtesy of Department of Cultural Affairs)After ten months of renovation, the 228 Memorial Museum reopened to the public recently with new material presented in digital forms, aiming to recall the tragic incident before its 64th anniversary on February 28.

To present the incident, the museum mapped out 12 sections. The recording room in the then Taiwan Radio Station was reconstructed as well as the clamping down on cigarette smuggling on February 27 1947, which was the beginning of the unrest. Some sections show testimonies from families of the 228 incident victims and briefings on human rights memorial museums in other countries.

A visitor picks up the old style telephone and listens to interviews. (Photos by Eva Tang)Visitors can pick up old style telephones to listen to interviews of retirees from the Taiwan Radio Station, and descriptions of the incident from witnesses.

During the inauguration ceremony held on February 20, President Ma Ying-jeou said that there were two ways to deal with the past: face it or erase it, and the Republic of China has chosen the former.

“Before such a historical event, we shall confine the discussion to that specific event; we sympathize and show our compassion for the families of the victims of this incident,” said Ma, who had participated in similar events over the past 20 years.

Photos of victims are shown in the exhibition. (Photos by Eva Tang)The numerous interpretations of the 228 Incident are all mired in controversy. And the museum’s presentation is based on “historical material and from victims’ perspectives”, according to the Department of Cultural Affairs, Taipei City Government who started to plan the renovation in 2007. A group of experts on the incident as well as on Taiwan history were invited to give their opinions. More historical material was collected from family members of the victims.

The renovation almost cost the Taipei City Government NT$30 million and the presentation focuses on digitalization and education.

A visitor at the exhibition. (Photos by Eva Tang)Besides the permanent exhibition, an exhibition on Wang Tien-teng, Taiwan’s forerunner of democracy, will be shown in the basement at the Museum from February 25. Wang was the head of propaganda for the February 28 Incident Settlement Committee in 1947.