Taipei National Palace Museum may stay open during renovations in 2020: Director

National Palace Museum director and Cabinet spokesman says plans are in works to keep it open during renovations that start in 2020

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Tourists at Taipei National Palace Museum.

Tourists at Taipei National Palace Museum. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- The director of the Taipei branch of the National Palace Museum (NPM) today announced that the museum is likely to stay open while renovations are carried out beginning in 2020, while the Cabinet also expressed its opinion that it should not be completely closed during that period either.

In response to an announcement made by KMT legislator Ko Chih-en (柯志恩) on Monday that the Taipei branch of the NPM would shut its doors for three years for renovations starting in 2020, NPM Director Chen Chi-nan (陳其南) at a press conference today said that there was no mention of closing the museum to the public in the expansion plans approved by the Cabinet and that complete closure was only an option being discussed, not the only option. Chen said that it is expected that the NPM is more likely to remain open while the renovation work is carried out.

Chen said the construction work on the Taipei branch of the NPM and the shifting of exhibits to the Chiayi Branch will be carried out in a comprehensive way and the details have not been finalized. He said complete closure of the Taipei branch is not the only option, and at present plans are in the works to keep it open while construction work is underway.

"According to the original plan for the new National Palace Museum, there is no mention of the closure of the museum. It is anticipated that museum will not be closed, and expansion work can be carried out simultaneously," said Chen, according to CNA. Chen mentioned in the Legislative Yuan yesterday that some important cultural relics in the Taipei branch would be moved to the Chiayi branch, but emphasized that "This project [shifting of relics] has nothing to do with the North [Taipei] Palace Museum's renovation and expansion," according to the report.

Cabinet spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka (谷辣斯.尤達卡) this morning said plans submitted to the Legislative Yuan to renovate the Taipei NPM did not stipulate its closure but that "during the construction project, some personnel and national treasures would be moved to the south [Chiayi branch] for supporting activities such as planning, writing, marketing, publicity, and guidance," reported Liberty Times. Kolas emphasized that the position of the Cabinet is that the Taipei NPM should not be closed and the southern branch should continue to expand and enrich its exhibition content.

Kolas said in its report submitted to the Cabinet on Jan. 11 of this year, the NPM estimated that the number of visitors to both museum branches during the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo would reach 5.4 million, and it would rise to 5.6 million in 2021, thus indicating that it would be in the country's interest to keep the tourist attraction open during renovations.

In late 2017, the government approved a six-year, NT$10.1 billion (US$342.2 million) initiative to improve all facets of the National Palace Museum, including both of its branches, with major work to be carried out on the Taipei branch from 2020 to 2023. The comprehensive plan includes efforts to improve museum landscapes and exhibition activity coordination, and boosting international promotion.

Over the 20 years following the renovation, ticket receipts and product revenues have been projected to shoot up by NT$7.6 billion and NT$11.2, respectively.

More information on the National Palace Museum and its current exhibitions can be found on the official website.