The National Museum of Taiwan Literature is a museum that showcases the different dialects in Taiwan, including famous work of popular Taiwanese authors, children’s books in Chinese and other famous Taiwan literature.
The museum was established in 2003. Although relatively new, the museum used a hundred-year-old building that was formerly the Tainan Prefecture Hall and the Tainan City Hall during the Japanese colonization period.
It was built in 1916 by the Japanese and was designed by the French architect Francois Mansart, who is popular for Mansard style of architecture, a common architectural style in European and North American buildings during the 19th Century. It was said to have been severely damaged during the World War 2, so most of what you’ll see of the building today, particularly the inside architecture, are not the original structure. Still, the internal architecture is very interesting with archways, columns and brickwork installed.
Thus, if you are not interested in Taiwan’s literature and the development of it at all, you may still appreciate the museum with its historic buildings serving as famous monuments in the city. The building is one of the most beautiful old structures in the city and makes for good photo opportunities.
Sometimes, the museum hosts local exhibitions too, so it might be wise to give it a visit also if you’re interested in taking home a rare piece of Taiwan with you.
But while the museum works in promoting local literature and encouraging reading in the younger generation, it also aims to exhaustively collect, arrange, preserve, repair, research and even publish Taiwan’s literature and historical books.
Its collections are exhibited in eight rooms inside the museum. All of them feature the history and development of Taiwan literature through several languages like Taiwanese, Japanese, Mandarin and Classical Chinese. One of the exhibition rooms was solely dedicated to Lai He, a poet, novelist and a doctor who was considered to be the father of modern Taiwan literature.
All in all, the National Museum of Taiwan Literature is a nice place to visit, especially if you’re traveling with kids. The displayed literary artifacts may not hold their attention for very long but you can be sure that the experience will add to their cultural education. If your kids speak and understand Chinese or Mandarin, they might even enjoy the trying their hand in the calligraphy section of the museum where children’s Chinese books are also kept.
If you don’t understand the Chinese language, you might consider joining the guided tours provided by the museum. Tours are free of charge and you don’t have to worry about food either, as the museum has a restaurant that serves delicious food and refreshments.
How to get there: The museum is located at No.1, Zhongzheng Rd., West Central District, Tainan City. To get there, take a bus (Numbers 1, 2, 6 and 7) and get off at any of the following stop: Minsheng Luyuan, Jhongshan Riad, Temple of Confucius or at Kaishan Road.
Opening Hours: The National Museum of Taiwan Literature is open from 9:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M. Tuesdays to Sundays, and admission is free.