The National Palace Museum (aka NPM) in Taiwan has one of the largest collections of Chinese artifacts in the world, and perhaps the finest collection of Chinese art in the world. The museum is open year round and offers tours in many different languages. It is a must see spot for any foreign tourist visiting Taiwan.
The National Palace Museum has over700,000 artifacts in two locations, one in Taipei (where most foreign visitors come, northern branch) and another in Chiayi (less visited southern branch). However only 3,000 artificats can be on display at a time, so the museum rotates artifact displays every two months. This way, you will likely be seeing something different every time you come.
Originally the National Palace Museum was established in 1925 when the Republic of China ruled all of Mainland China, after the last emperor of the Qing Dynasty was expelled from the forbidden city. In 1931, Chiang Kai-shek ordered that the artifacts in the forbidden city be moved to Shanghai, and Later Nanking so that they would not fall into the hands of the Japanese until the Japanese surrendered in 1945. After the Chinese Civil War started that same year, Chiang Kai Shek ordered the artifacts be moved to Taiwan between 1948 and 1949, but not all the artifacts could be sent before the communists seized control of some of the remaining collection. Only 1/5 of the original collection from the forbidden city made it to Taiwan, but they were considered the best of the artifacts.
For ten years the items sat in storage in Taichung until a small viewing hall was built in 1957. In 1965 the current site for the palace museum was established, and has been expanded over the years. The museum also plans further expansions in the future.
The museum is a monument to Taiwan's (the Republic of China's) claim to be the true legitimate government of China, as it preserved and protected these artifacts from the communist destruction of heritage during the Cultural Revolution. China of course claims that the artifacts were stolen. However, the PRC's Forbidden City (also know as the National Palace Museum) and the National Palace Museum in Taiwan have exchanged artifacts since 2009.
8:30 AM to 4:30 PM every day (open till 9:00 PM on Friday and Saturday).
350 NT per person.
Click here for the National Palace Museum's official FAQ.
How to get there:
By MRT/Bus: Take the MRT to Shilin Station on the red line and then take any number of busses
By car/scooter: From central Taipei I recommend driving there via the Ziqiang tunnel in Neihu/Dazhi which goes through the mountain straight to the museum. There is free scooter parking to the right of the entrance and paid car parking across the street.
Please see below:
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living and working in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.