Chartered during the Japanese colonial period in Taiwan, the National Taiwan University (NTU) has nearly 80 years of history with a rich academic legacy. Many unique and prestigious materials, specimens, and documents have been collected for teaching and research purposes since the establishment of the university in 1928. Collections include artifacts of the Taiwanese indigenous people and prehistory archaeological sites, including samples of minerals/rocks/fossils, specimens of animals/plants/insects, and laboratory apparatuses and instruments. However, because of restricted budget and limited resources such as space and manpower, collections are only maintained by minimum preservation equipment, not for the purpose of further systematic exhibition and extension education.
These precious collections have marked the great development of Taiwan’s higher education. If these collections are not properly stored, managed, or utilized, it would be a great loss for both the National Taiwan University and the whole Taiwanese society in the fields of natural, cultural, and academic legacy.
In October 2005, Si-Chen Lee, the president of National Taiwan University (NTU), assigned a task force led by the University Librarian, Jieh Hsiang, to integrate individual university museums. The “NTU Museums Cooperation and Development Plan” was thus proposed in February 2007 to promote NTU Museums’ image, support research, carry out educational functions, and to provide tour guide services. This plan also aims to assist individual museums to seek financial support for the renewal and refurbishment of collections and the restoration of exhibition facilities. NTU hopes to fulfill its social and educational function and responsibility if the NTU museums, with its rich collections, are to be opened to the local community and the general public. On March 20, 2007, the president of NTU officially approved of this plan and allocated the funds. On the anniversary of the university this year (November 15, 2007), the NTU Museums were inaugurated and a special exhibition was held at the Chuan-Lyu Exhibition Hall in the Gallery of NTU History.
Currently there are ten museums within the NTU Museums Group, including the Gallery of National Taiwan University History, the Museum of Anthropology, the Geology Museum, the Heritage Hall of Physics, the Insect Museum, the Agricultural Exhibition Hall, the TAI Herbarium, the Zoology Museum, the Museum of Archives, and the Museum of Medical Humanities. The NTU Library plays the leading role and is responsible for the planning, coordination, and management of common affairs and public images of NTU Museums through the “NTU Museums Office;” however, each museum is still the decision maker of managing each respective museum.
While keeping a close relationship with the departments to which they belong, the members of NTU Museums are currently connecting with each other within the campus community. The collections are used as teaching and research materials, remarking the history of the university and highlighting the uniqueness of Taiwan. From now on, NTU Museums are open to the general public to experience the beauty and richness of the collections.