University museums are considered one of the cradles of modern public museums, but despite their traditional role as the pillar of academic research and higher education, they are continuously and rapidly evolving themselves to respond to the burgeoning need for unfettered access to intellectual assets in academic institutions. In this “socially innovative process,” university museums are growing increasingly kaleidoscopic and versatile, with their footprints gradually extending from institutions of higher learning to secondary and primary schools, and from systems of formal schooling to those of informal education and lifelong learning. Embracing the full spectrum of pedagogy and educational structures, university museums today are becoming distinctive from their museum peers, serving as a critical momentum for the democratization of knowledge.
Perceiving that the potential of university museums to ignite the torch of knowledge in wider communities has yet to be fully unleashed, Kyoto University (KU) and National Taiwan University (NTU) have consented to incorporate a two-day museum session into the KU-NTU Joint Symposium in 2013 to further facilitate the exchange of ideas over the affairs of university museums. This museum session is composed of three sub-sessions; namely, the signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding, oral presentations, and poster presentations. The aim of the session is to provide an intellectually stimulating atmosphere conducive to insightful analyses and thought-provoking debates over what functions university museums shall develop today and what the present roles of theirs are indicative of their evolutionary pace in the future. The oral presentations will feature seven prominent professors and senior staff members of KU and NTU presenting the scholastic missions and social values of university collections. The poster presentations will encourage public engagement and solicit works with topics revolving around the "versatility" and "changing character" of contemporary university museums. Authors of accepted posters will be invited to share their findings and insights with those interested in envisaging the emerging functions and roles of university museums.
It is our hope that the contributions of this two-day session will serve to make the joint symposium not merely an auspicious beginning that heralds a fruitful and constructive partnership between KU and NTU, but an opportunity to provide participants with an enriching and enlightening experience that inspires them to pursue further museological agendas for universities.