Three years after its foundation in 2017, the Taiwan Cultural Memory Bank launched its official website on Taiwan Culture Day, the 17th of October 2020.
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The Ministry of Culture announces that the Taiwan Cultural Memory Bank website comes online on the 17th October. (Photo: Business Wire)
Over the course of the last few years, the Ministry of Culture, with its close collaboration of 22 local governments, 117 private organizations, 18 inter-ministerial bodies, and 12 museums affiliated with the Ministry, has been working on the “Taiwan Cultural Memory Bank and Digital Value-Added Application Program,” a national database dedicated to the preservation of local cultures and collective memories. This national project is intended to enhance citizen’s cultural literacy and finally to map the cultural DNA of this country, namely Diversity, Nearby, and Advance.
The Deputy Minister Lee Lien-chuan (李連權) made a statement in the inaugural speech, by saying that “a country without memory is a country of no history and culture.” He also maintained that the Taiwan Cultural Memory Bank will serve as a platform inviting public participation in the re/construction of the collective memories and Taiwan history.
With the number still increasing, the program collects more than 2.7 million items ranging from prehistoric objects to modern photographs, all of which illustrate the progress of Taiwan history. The national treasure, an nephrite earring with the zoo-anthropomorphic shape, is included in the database, while there are numerous images of Chunghua Market (中華商場), an iconic landmark in Taipei that was demolished in 1992.
Intangible cultural heritage is also well documented in this database, including recordings of Yang Xiu-Qing’s (楊秀卿) narrative songs and videos of Chen Hsi-huang’s (陳錫煌) glove puppet theatre filmed by the Backstage Studio(後場音像工作室). The Smile Folksong Group (微笑唸歌團), an organisation working closely with Yang, collected materials showing the history of narrative songs and the pharmaceutical commercials related to this performing art form.
Moreover, this program contains the digitalization of Taiwan Hero (諸葛四郎), a graphic novel series by artist Yeh Hong-jia (葉宏甲) that caused a sensation in the 60s and 70s. In this particular collection created and shared by Yeh’s family and his readers, 7,372 pages of comics and 1,749 manuscripts are available on the website.
On the other hand, the National Academy for Educational Research (國家教育研究院), in the collaborated project entitled “Taiwan Stories 101,” plans to increase understanding and arose awareness of Taiwanese identity by looking into individual items representing ethnic diversity, local creativities, collective spirit of the nation, and the use of Taiwan images in literature and art.
After the establishment of this website, the Ministry of Culture will continue enriching its collections in the upcoming project, “Taiwan Cultural Memory Bank 2.0,” which also aims to increase the value-added assets of the preserved items and draw a picture of Taiwan’s cultural knowledge with the help of AI technology.
For more information, follow the link. https://memory.culture.tw