National Palace Museum

The Collections in National Palace Museum (NPM) include, paintings, calligraphy, books, documents, ceramics, bronzes, jades, and curios. And most of the artifacts from the NPM's collection came from The Palace Museum, the preparatory department of the Nanjing, and the temporary palace museums in Jehol and Shenyang in 1948. The brief history and the organization of NPM are mentioned below.

A. History Of the National Palace Museum

1. The Birth of the National Palace Museum

Originally, the NPM's artifact collection was kept at the back of the Forbidden City and only available for the royal family. To satisfy the public's wish to witness the magnificence of the National Palace Museum, the government announced National Palace Museum to be opened to the public. The opening ceremony was held on Oct. 10, 1925.

2. Arrival of Artifacts in the National Palace Museum

In fall 1948, NPM's Executive Director advocated that artifact masterpieces be shipped to Taiwan, and there were altogether over one thousand containers being transported to Taiwan. In 1,573 artifacts including calligraphy, famous paintings bronzes, tapestries, porcelains, jades, curios, rare books, and historical documents were exhibited in six separate galleries and eight different art galleries.

Jadeite Cabbage Pottery figure of ladies playing polo game in sancai tri-color glaze White porcelain vase with double dragon-shaped handles

Reference: National Palace Museum

3. Developments of the National Palace Museum

In addition to the collections from The Palace Museum, the NPM also accepted lent or donated artifacts from domestic and foreign collectors including antiquities, paintings and calligraphy, and rare books to make the NPM collection more complete and well developed.

Pasturing Horses A Palace Concert

Reference: National Palace Museum

4. From Local to International

The National Palace Museum houses a magnificent collection of precious Chinese artifacts and serves the role of protecting human and art histories. The NPM hopes to win the love and recognition of the Taiwanese public, enriches Taiwan's social and cultural foundations, and attracts more visitors locally and internationally.

B. Artifact Restoration Department in National Palace Museum

The Artifact Restoration Dept. is under the Department of Registration andConservation*. In the National Palace Museum, there are many different staffmembers with specific duties. For example, at the museum’s entrance, there areticket sales and security personnel. Then, upon entry to the exhibition hall, there aremore assistants and docents. It may seem ordinary, but if an artifact can be displayedin the exhibition hall, many people need to plan and work together. The key person inthis process is the "curator." The curator is like a storyteller. He may create the themeand story he wants to exhibit. After deciding on the theme, he has to select theartifacts. The process of selecting the artifacts usually cannot be achieved in a shorttime. The layout of the exhibition is not simple, and it requires much effort. We haveto decide what kind of environment will not destroy the artifacts, so the lighting,temperature, and humidity of the exhibition hall all need to be taken intoconsideration. For example, one may find that the lighting inside of exhibition halls isnot so bright, because this can protect the artifacts. Under fortunate circumstances,the artifacts were kept in a good condition, but sometimes they were damaged. In thiscase, the restorers have to check and restore them carefully and display them afterthe reparation is complete. The process can be very complicated.

There are six restorers work under the Artifact Restoration Department who act like the doctors of the artifacts. They restore the damaged artifacts to extend their longevity. They work behind the scenes. Among the domestic museums, the Nation Palace Museum currently has the most restorers. The most important mission of the Artifact Restoration Department is to maintain the safety and preserve the longevity of the artifacts to ensure that the exhibition can be held. There are four restoration rooms in the department, and they are private and protected. Non-employees must go through an official application process and obtain approval from the Superintendent of the National Palace Museum to enter the reparation sites.

* Responsibilities of Department of Registration and Conservation include: Registration and acquisition of NPM collections.Preventive preservation and scientific study of NPM collections.Repair and maintenance of NPM collections.Other affairs concerning registration and preservation.(Source: National Palace Museum)

☞ See more at the Official National Palace Museum Website ☞