Culture Minister Cheng Li-chiun visited the Chiayi Municipal Museum (嘉義市立博物館) in Chiayi City on Sept. 17 to learn more about its rebranding project before the venue closes for renovations.
Established in 2004 with the slogan "Chiayi people caring for Chiayi affairs," the Chiayi Municipal Museum is a four-story building that offers exhibits on fossils, Cochin porcelain, and sculptures to present the geological and artistic landscapes of Chiayi. Among its collections are treasured paintings by the late Chiayi-born artist Chen Cheng-po (陳澄波).
Last year, the museum proposed a renovation project to the Ministry of Culture for resolving issues related to a reduced number of visitors and insufficient space and facilities.
Minister Cheng noted that a budget of NT$25 million will be allocated to the museum for renovating its facilities and attracting more visitors, with a mid-term sustainability plan in the making to rebrand the museum with new exhibitions that can better present the unique characteristics of Chiayi City.
The Ministry will also assist in training museum staff and recruitment to provide Chiayi residents with quality cultural infrastructure and a wider range of public cultural services.
During the process of renovation, the museum will also recruit independent researchers and invite local residents or community representatives who have the interest and specialized skill sets to participate in its rebranding project.
It will also continue to collect cultural relics and documents related to the historical development of Chiayi City, release the "Peach City Wanderings (桃城晃遊)" quarterly journal, develop teaching materials that embody local cultural characteristics, and hold seminars on rebranding strategies for community museums to craft a new image and deepen its connection with local residents.
The museum aims to become a sustainably operated public venue after renovating its facilities and exhibition rooms, improving its services, and increasing its value to the Chiayi public.
In other related news, the Ministry of Culture fully supports the Council of Agriculture's initiative to recreate historic scenes of the centennial Alishan Forest Railway in Chiayi, and will look into curating a cultural sightseeing program featuring the forest railway to introduce Chiayi's rich artistic and biological diversity to more Taiwanese and international visitors.