By Cynthia Chiang
Before I met and married my Taiwanese husband, I lived and worked in Washington, D.C. as an assistant museum curator. Most of my day was spent busying myself with cataloguing and storing works of art, historical documents and often times working with restoration specialists trying to discern “how important” an item was. This was a tiring but fulfilling job. I felt like by being so near to the history of America I was somehow becoming a part of it.
After I got married my husband and I moved to Taiwan and we decided to start a family. It took a while for me to get used to this new country, with its language, mannerisms and of course the food. (To everyone too scared of trying stinky dofu, be brave! Now it’s one of my favorites.)
Now that my children are overseas and going to university, I find myself often drawn back to museums. The National Palace Museum reminds me so much of my old life, with one little difference.
One thing that Taiwan has that is completely unique is the size of its historical archives. Every time I visit the museum I see entire new collections and artifacts of such priceless beauty and historical significance that it takes my breath away.
I can sympathize with the long hours that the staff of the National Palace Museum must put in to document and display the cultural treasures of this nation and culture, whose history makes the United States seem like a young child by comparison. To anyone just visiting Taiwan or who has just moved here, The National Palace Museum should be one of your first stops, after getting over the jet lag of course! I can tell you that the time and effort it has taken the museum directors, curators and archivists to put together such an amazing display have been well worth it, and you should take the opportunity to visit one of the most beautiful collections of history and art the world has ever seen.