The Taiwan Quasi-Museum Development Association is a community aimed at building a sustainable hometown by integrating local history, cultural assets, industries, and regional tourism. It is also devoted to promoting arts education in the hopes of making the region a base for developing quasi-museums throughout Taiwan.
In 2010, a cultural and creative market held by a group of artists based in Shui-Jin-Jiou prompted the establishment of the association. With the ultimate goal of making the whole region into an alternative museum unto itself, the association founded the Mountain Town Art Gallery (山城美館) in Shuinandong as a base for gathering local resources to implement its ideas.
The association has since held a wide range of cultural events, including exhibitions, craft workshops, painting courses, and seminars. Through these activities, association members try to raise awareness of local memories among community residents and construct a common cultural identity.
The association also collaborates with nearby universities by offering internship programs for students to participate in community empowerment, cultural tourism development, visual and performance art promotion, and bed & breakfast management projects. These programs offer students the opportunity to practice academic theories and skills in real life.
Among its community development projects, it has revived local cultural industries and tourism hotspots, which have created job opportunities for underprivileged mothers and new immigrants. Children, on the other hand, are given a meaningful and rich environment surrounded by culture and arts.
With the association's efforts, the Mountain Town Art Gallery has become a major cultural platform for nearby artists, creative professionals, craftspeople, and architects to create, publish, and market their works.
In 2013, the association launched "Buoy Up (不一鼓),” a summer camp hosted by local ceramist Hsu Chu-fu (許居福). Hsu, who also makes drums with locally sourced greige textiles, offers workshops and local tours for visiting families to play drums and learn about the Shueinandong settlement.
In addition, a dining site once used by coal miners has been transformed into a restaurant called Mountain Town Canteen (山城食堂). Overlooking the eastern coast of Taiwan, the restaurant offers not only a spectacular view but also healthy vegetarian meals and snacks made from ingredients grown by local farmers.
Having fostered a successful quasi-museum model in Shueinandong, the association aims to continue the development of the region into a museum without walls, to network with all communities across Taiwan, and to help more communities develop unique crafts that use local elements.