Exhibition and Politics: The Political Discourses of National Palace Museum, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and Taipei 228 Memorial Museum.
|博物館;展示;政治論述;威權體制;故宮博物院;中正紀念堂;台北二二八紀念館;Museums;Exhibition;Political discourses;Authoritarian regime;National Palace Museum;Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hal;Taipei 228 Memorial Museum
This research aims to discuss the relation between museums and nations and to examine the political discourses of museums which are utilized to legitimize the authorities. In the museum study, the former researches pointed out that museum has been considered as a main stage to present political discourses of nations by arranging and displaying exhibits. However, those researches did not further discuss the interaction between museums and nations. Therefore, with a case study in post-war Taiwan, this study focuses on three iconic museums in Taiwan: National Palace Museum, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and Taipei 228 Memorial Museum, built under different leaderships in the KMT regime, and explores a number of questions: Why and when do nations build a museum? What role do museums play in nations? What the relation is between museums and authoritarian regimes? Examining the historical contexts, constructions and exhibitions of three representative museums, this research analyzes the utilization and the political discourses of these museums under different leaderships of the KMT. According to the finding of this study, the author demonstrates the political operation of museums in the KMT’s authoritarian regime. Under leadership of Chiang Kai-shek, and Chiang Ching-kuo and Lin Teng-hui, the KMT government shaped different political discourses by the architectural design, administrative units and exhibition arrangement of museums. This study argues that the KMT’s purpose of building museums has changed during the transition from authoritarian rule to democracy. In the beginning of authoritarian regime, museums are considered as powerful sticks to strike external enemy (the PRC) in the case of National Palace Museum. Then, when Chiang Ching-kuo took over the one-party authoritarian state from his father, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall was built to legitimize the succession and to strengthen the internal legitimacy of the KMT. With the challenge from society during the democratization process, the KMT lost its dominance in building museums and passively resisted the constructing of Taipei 228 Memorial Museum with the concerns about the new local power which will undermine the legitimacy of the KMT. As a dominator of the country over a long period of time, the KMT government has changed his utilization of museums from external expansion, internal consolidation to passive resistance. The change indicates that the interference of state power in museums had declined and that the political discourses of museums has retreated and been modified to legitimize the KMT regime.
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