The Bureau of Cultural Heritage under the Ministry of Culture signed a memorandum of understanding on March 30 with AusHeritage, a network of Australian cultural heritage management organizations established by the Australian government in 1996. The two sides will work on cooperation in underwater cultural heritage preservation, the revitalization of a Taiwanese mining site, and the exchange of heritage restoration techniques.
The MOU was signed by Bureau Director-General Shy Gwo-long (施國隆) and AusHeritage Chairman Vinod Daniel in Taipei, and witnessed by Culture Minister Hung Meng-chi (洪孟啟) and Richard Neumann, deputy representative of the Australian Office Taipei.
Australia has developed a mature system and standards for the preservation and restoration of cultural assets and the reuse of cultural space, said the Minister. The country's "Burra Charter,” the base for domestic cultural heritage evaluation and restoration guidelines, is a significant piece of literature that is widely respected and cited, he added.
The Ministry plans to arrange a visit to the 'Shui-Jin-Jiou' (水金九) mine site — a region comprising the Shuinandong (水湳洞) copper mine, the Jinguashi (金瓜石) gold mine, and the Jioufen (九份) coal mine that is vying for designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site — for AusHeritage Vice Chairman Ian Cook when he visits Taiwan in June to discuss future collaboration, according to Shy. This will be the first action taken by the two sides following the signing of the MOU.
The 2015 Conference on Conservation Science of Cultural Properties (2015年文化資產保存科學國際研討會), organized by the Bureau and scheduled for the second half of this year, may also include discussion with AusHeritage experts on 3D scanning and environmental monitoring.
The Bureau also plans to invite Australian experts to attend an international conference on underwater excavation between August and September 2016, added Shy.
AusHeritage members include professionals from a wide variety of disciplines, such as architects, archeologists, cultural tourism planners, and heritage managers. Future collaborations would also cover mural preservation and restoration studies, stone materials investigation, and heritage risk maps.
AusHeritage has previously worked with Taiwan on several cultural preservation projects, including the Dalongdong Baoan Temple (大龍峒保安宮) in Taipei, and the initial selection of Taiwan's world heritage potential sites.
The Ministry hopes that long-term partnerships with other countries can help Taiwan upgrade its conservation scientific and restoration techniques. Other recent international agreements include an MOU with France's Department of Underwater and Submarine Archaeological Research (DRASSM) that was signed in 2006 and renewed in 2012.
From left to right: AusHeritage Chairman Vinod Daniel, Australian Office Taipei Deputy Director Richard Neumann, Culture Minister Hung Meng-chi, and Shy Gwo-long, Director-General of the Bureau of Cultural Heritage.
AusHeritage has aided Taiwan's cultural preservation projects for more than two decades, starting in late 1994 when Australian architect Bruce Pettman helped the Dalongdong Baoan Temple in Taipei restore its frescos and combat humidity.