Taiwan's Nat. Palace Museum Southern Branch opens Muslim Prayer Room

The Muslim prayer room marks a significant step in the museum’s cultural equity initiatives

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Deputy Director Lee Ching-hwi cuts a ribbon to officially open the Muslim prayer room at NPM Southern Branch Dec. 21 (Courtesy of NPM)

Deputy Director Lee Ching-hwi cuts a ribbon to officially open the Muslim prayer room at NPM Southern Branch Dec. 21 (Courtesy of NPM)

National Palace Museum Southern Branch unveiled a Muslim prayer room Dec. 21 as part of its efforts to boost international visitor numbers and create a friendly environment for people from diverse cultures.
 
According to NPM, the room is the first of its kind at a Taiwan museum and includes a Quran and prayer rugs. The institution in southern Taiwan’s Chiayi County also features other Muslim-friendly facilities such as bidet sprays in some lavatories.
 
NPM Deputy Director Lee Ching-hwi said that the opening of the Muslim prayer room marks a significant step in the museum’s cultural equity initiatives, which span measures to ensure equal access for people of all genders, cultures, financial circumstances and those with physical disabilities. Lee also expressed hope that the new facilities will provide a more relaxing and convenient experience to Muslim visitors and encourage more tourists to explore the Southern Branch’s diverse exhibitions.
 
In order to foster understanding of Islam among non-Muslim visitors, the museum offers free brochures introducing the religion outside the prayer room. The southern Taiwan institution will also stage a Muslim cultural event Dec. 24 comprising musical performances by an Indonesian band and a market featuring delicacies from South and Southeast Asian countries.
 
To boost visitor numbers, NPM also announced that the cost of a full-price ticket for the Southern Branch will drop from NT$250 (US$8.35) to NT$150 from Jan. 1.
 
Established in 2015, NPM Southern Branch showcases historical artifacts and artworks from diverse Asian civilizations. Comprising a main exhibition venue, artificial lake and landscape park, the 70-hectare museum was designed by acclaimed Taiwan architect Kris Yao, recipient of the 2014 Honorary Fellowship of the American Institute of Architects. (CPY-E)