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Passing Tales Between Museums: NMTL Tends to Artifacts of Lai Ho

  • PublishTime:2023-07-31

by Lin Pei-Jung , Wang Ya-Shan, Gregory Laslo

NMTL founded the Literature Museum Family (LMF) in 2016 with the goal of connecting museums on a common creative platform. To date, thirty-eight museums have joined the LMF, sharing resources such as expertise, archival knowledge, and digital platforms and exhibitions.

In 2023, the Laiho Memorial Hall, a member of the LMF, decided to donate its precious original manuscripts, books, and periodicals to NMTL. On the eve of Lai Ho’s birthday, NMTL held a joint press conference with the Memorial Hall to announce that the cultural relics of the “Father of Modern Taiwan Literature” would be handed over to NMTL for preservation, where they can also enjoy all the promotional benefits that come with being in a museum.

These treasured artifacts of Lai Ho (1894-1943) were originally housed in the Laiho Memorial Hall in Changhua, a highly symbolic building in Taiwan. This museum is not only the former site of the Japanese colonial era Lai Ho Clinic, but also an important promoter of Taiwan literature, holding literature activities every year since the 1990s, when Taiwan literature had yet to become popular. Among members of the LMF, it is considered one of the experienced old guard. Due to climatic changes and the building’s continued aging, the Memorial Hall is unable to ideally preserve the cultural relics stored there for the past 30 years. To ensure their long-term preservation, the Memorial Hall and his family made the difficult decision to donate these cultural artifacts to NMTL, in the hopes that the Museum will make good use of them.

NMTL has already begun digitizing the materials, creating a virtual version of the Museum, and has entrusted severely damaged artifacts to professional restorers for repair. At the same time, in order to allow the Memorial Hall to better fulfill its role as an exhibitor, “authentic reproductions” are being produced. Authentic reproduction involves employing sophisticated replication techniques, with the goal of producing a copy that is difficult to distinguish from the originals in terms of handwriting, paper color, or overall appearance, through any method of testing. A batch of these reproductions has already been sent to the Memorial Hall, allowing visitors to see what original iconic historical works of Taiwan literature truly look like.