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Museum seeks war shelter for its artifacts


Staff at the National Palace Museum are primarily trained to respond to natural disasters, but an evacuation plan in the event of a military conflict would be developed

  • By Shelley Shan / Staff Reporter

Director of the National Palace Museum, Wu Mi-cha (吳密察), said yesterday that he does not know the ideal place to store historical artifacts from the museum’s collection if a war breaks out in Taiwan, but s is committed to stipulating an evacuation plan within three months and organizing an exercise in July.

Wu attended a meeting of the Legislative Assembly’s Education and Culture Committee to brief lawmakers on the museum’s operations.

However, many lawmakers questioned whether the museum had the staff and protocols in place to move nearly 700,000 historic artifacts to safety in the event of war, after seeing museum staff in Ukraine struggle to save historic items. after the Russian invasion.

Photo: ANC

Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Huang Kuo-shu (黃國書) and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmaker Wan Mei-ling (萬美玲) asked whether the museum had selected locations to store historical artifacts, considering that staff of the Andrey Sheptytsky National Museum in Lviv, Ukraine are struggling to find a place to store nearly 12,000 historical objects they have removed from the museum.

Wan said the National Palace Museum must be ready to evacuate historical artifacts in case of an emergency, adding that it would be too late if the museum waits until then to respond.

Wu said rules governing a disaster and emergency response plan at the National Palace Museum primarily prepare staff to respond to a flood, fire or earthquake.

While the museum has held drills for various emergencies, it has yet to hold drills for a war or airstrike, he said.

“The National Palace Museum has more than 690,000 historical objects. If we were to conduct an exercise for a war or air raid scenario, we would first have to divide objects into different categories, simulate packing those objects, and moving them safely to designated locations. It’s not nothing,” he added.

“Evacuating historic objects is much more complicated than evacuating people, and frankly, I don’t see any place to store them at this time. National security officials may know of some very safe places, but we don’t know. not whether these places can safely preserve historical objects like we do at the National Palace Museum,” Wu said.

Wu pledged to spend the next three months establishing a wartime intervention task force and consulting with national security officials on possible storage locations for historical artifacts.

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