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There’s been a museum building boom on both sides of the Taiwan strait. China’s tourism boom boosted attendance at museums at home and abroad. In 2013, two of the top 20 most attended museums in the world were in China and two were in Taiwan. Over the next six years, booming tourism in China and fewer tourists from China visiting Taiwan reconfigured the list. Three more museums in China joined the attendance top 20 and one from Taiwan dropped from it. These six museums are the only ones from Asia on the list.

Taiwan’s National Palace Museum was the 12th most visited museum in the world in 2012 but attendance is off in absolute and relative terms. This decline is primarily because of the decline in visitors from China. In 2015, 4.2 million PRC citizens visited Taiwan. In 2016, the Taiwanese government began restricting those coming in tour grroups to 5,000 a day. In 2019, Beijing stopped issuing permits for people to travel to Taiwan from 47 cities. In 2019, only 3 million PRC citizens visited Taiwan. While overall external tourism to Taiwan increased, these visitors are not as likely to visit the Palace Museum as were those from China.

Please join us today as we host a presentation by and discussion with Kirk Denton who has published a new book on the political struggles over what stories to tell in Taiwan’s museums.
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