Jump to the content zone at the center

Department of Culture Affairs

News & Activities

Museum opens in memory of Taiwan New Cultural Movement

By Yali Chen
 
Located at the intersection of Ningxia Road and Jinxi Street in the Datong District, Taipei City, what used to be the Taipei North Police Station (臺北北警察署) in the Japanese era has been transformed into the Taiwan New Cultural Movement Museum (臺灣新文化運動紀念館).
                                          
Built in 1933, the old building was previously known as the Criminal Police Corps (刑警總隊) and after the Second World War, the Datong Police Station (大同分局). In 2006, the Taipei City Government designated it as the Preparatory Office of the Taiwan New Cultural Movement Memorial Museum (臺灣新文化運動紀念館籌備處) and in 2014, entrusted its reconstruction to Taipei City’s Department of Cultural Affairs (DOCA).
 
From 2015, it went through a three-year restoration work and interior refurbishment. After nearly 10 months of intensive planning, the DOCA held an opening ceremony on October 14, 2018 to announce the official opening of Taiwan New Cultural Movement Memorial Museum.

Art editor Img
Photo by Bill Cheng
Chiang Wei-shui Cultural Foundation Executive Director Chiang Chao-ken (left) gives a copy of “The Formosa” magazine to Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je at the opening ceremony of Taiwan New Cultural Movement Memorial Museum on October 14 in Taipei.

Several special guests attended the opening ceremony, including the descendants of Chiang Wei-shui and Lin Hsien-tang – the representative figures of the Taiwan New Cultural Movement (臺灣新文化運動). Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je and Deputy Mayor Chen Chin-jun, as well as Chuang Yung-ming, the hugely prolific author of Taiwanese history and culture, also attended the ceremony.
 
The opening ceremony kicked off with a song, sung by a choir of the Catholic Blessed Imelda’s School (靜修女中) in Taipei. The school was founded in 1916 by the Dominican sisters. During the period of Japanese rule from 1895 to 1945, Chiang and Lin initiated a non-violent resistance against Japan. This movement garnered the name “Taiwan New Cultural Movement.” The inaugural conference of Taiwan Culture Association (臺灣文化協會) was held in what is now the auditorium of Blessed Imelda’s School.
 
Chiang Wei-shui Cultural Foundation executive director Chiang Chao-ken gave a copy of “The Formosa” magazine (臺灣雜誌) to the mayor of Taipei. The magazine was published in 1922 by Chiang Wei-shui and symbolized the Taiwanese pursuit of freedom of speech during that period.

Art editor Img
Photo by Bill Cheng
Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (right) and Deputy Mayor Chen Chin-jun visit
Taiwan New Cultural Movement Memorial Museum.

 
In his speech, Mayor Ko said that the Taiwan New Cultural Movement had played an important role in the history of Taiwan. Under Japanese rule, Taiwanese intellectuals organized petition drives, founded cultural groups, published magazines, and set up political parties. Such acts enabled the general public to acquire knowledge of modern civilization, thereby producing a thriving artistic culture in Taiwan.
 
“Some people would refer to that as the golden decade in the history of Taiwan. It was a short but splendid period,” Ko said. Taiwan’s political repression, also known as the White Terror in the 1950s, came after the Second World War.
 
“The new cultural movement in the history of Taiwan highlighted the Taiwanese desire for freedom of speech and to keep pace with global development,” Ko said. “Their determination and perseverance deserve our respect. The Taiwan New Cultural Movement Memorial Museum will help us have a deep understanding of what they have done.”

Art editor Img
Photo by Bill Cheng
Chiang Chao-ken serves as Chiang Wei-shui Cultural Foundation executive director
and is also Chiang Wei-shui’s grandson.

 
Ko said that a museum is regarded as a treasure trove of history, art and culture. Dadaocheng is a great example of how the work of preserving historical buildings in the twenties and thirties has given rise to city museums. Going for a stroll in this area one can better understand the major historic events and architectural aesthetics of different periods.
 
“I maintain the hope that Taipei becomes both a modern city and a city with a rich history and culture,” he said. “This is our goal and needs our concerted efforts.”

Art editor Img
Photo by Bill Cheng
Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (seventh from right in the first row) attends the opening ceremony
of Taiwan New Cultural Movement Memorial Museum on October 14 in Taipei.

 
Dadaocheng is often described as the birthplace of Taiwan’s modern thought. This historical district has become one of the well-preserved areas in Taipei and is also the site of one of the five major city museums in the capital. In the near future, the Taiwan New Cultural Movement Memorial Museum will become one of the most important landmarks in Dadaocheng.
 
Historian Chuang Yung-ming said that throughout his life, Chiang Wei-shui was a pioneer in many ways. He founded the first Taiwanese cultural organization, “Taiwan Culture Association”; published the first Taiwanese newspaper, “Taiwan Minpao Newspaper (臺灣民報)”; set up the first Taiwanese political party “Taiwanese People’s Party (臺灣民眾黨)”; and established the first Taiwanese union, “Taiwanese Workers’ League (臺灣工友總聯盟).”

Art editor Img
Photo by Bill Cheng
Located at No. 87, Ningxia Road in the Datong District, Taipei City, Taiwan New Cultural Movement Memorial Museum opened to the public on October 14.

In 1915, Chiang graduated from Taiwan Medical College (臺灣總督府醫學校), now known as the National Taiwan University College of Medicine. One of his classmates set up the first obstetrics and gynecology hospital in Taiwan, now located on Tacheng Street in the Datong District, Taipei.
 
Chuang hopes that in the future, the museum holds a special exhibition of “Dadaocheng Pioneers” to pay tribute to their heroic struggles.
 
Chiang Wei-shui’s grandson Chiang Chao-ken was glad that the Taipei North Police Station had been transformed into the museum with a touch of Taiwanese culture.
 
In 2003, the then DOCA commissioner Liao Hsien-hao came up with the idea of establishing the museum. After years of talks with the Datong Police Station to relocate, the city government eventually set up the preparatory office of the museum in 2006.
 
“To commemorate Taiwan’s democratic trailblazer Chiang Wei-shui, the DOCA held more than 10 lectures, published 14 books, and released 3 albums from 2006 to 2013,” said Chiang Chao-ken, who also serves as Chiang Wei-shui Cultural Foundation executive director.
 
The historic building was completed in 1933 as the Taipei North Police Station. It was designed and built by the Office of the Taiwan Governor-General during the Japanese rule. Stucco and terrazzo on this structure were considered one of the most advanced construction methods then and symbolized Japanese authority. Mosaic bricks and western columns were also integrated into the building’s façade. Inside this building were modern equipment, such as onsite sewage facilities, electric lights, and telephones. It was lauded as one of Taiwan’s iconic buildings in the thirties.
 
At the end of World War II, the Taipei North Police Station was taken over by the Taipei City Police Department and renamed the Datong Police Station. The building was later expanded on the south side and the third floor. During the remodeling, red and white bricks were used on the northwest façade. The Datong Police Station gradually took on a new appearance different from that of the Taipei North Police Station.
 
In 1998, the city government designated the building as a grade-three historic monument and handed it over to the DOCA in 2014. One year later, the DOCA began to restore the building’s original appearance. After more than two years of construction, the historic monument was not only restored to its original appearance, but also preserved some original elements, such as the only remaining fan-shaped detention room in Taiwan and a water dungeon used to torture prisoners.
 
To help the general public better understand the significance of the Taiwan New Cultural Movement, the DOCA set up the permanent exhibition “Light and Shadow in the Golden Age” on the first floor of the museum. It depicted the historical development of the Taiwan Culture Association and the Taiwan New Cultural Movement, as well as the restoration of this historic monument. Visitors could also see the fan-shaped detention room and water dungeon.
 
On the second floor, the special exhibition “The Age of Great Awakening” is divided into four categories: new literature, new drama, new music, and new songs to introduce prominent figures and their works during the new cultural movement.
 
Most importantly, the history of the Taiwan Minpao Newspaper will be presented in a special exhibition room on the second floor. This offers a few glimpses of the Taiwanese fight for freedom of speech through the publication and circulation of this newspaper despite the censorship system during Japanese rule.
 
From October 14, the two exhibitions are free and open to the public. Besides the exhibitions, the museum will also give more than 10 lectures by the end of this year. Admission is free and online advance registration is encouraged.