Taiwan Theater Museum
The Taiwan Theater Museum is the first public theater museum in Taiwan. It is one of the museums under the Council of Cultural Affairs (CCA) with local characteristics and the first museum established in Yilan County.
During its planning years from 1986 to 1990, the Council of Cultural Affairs appointed Chinese Culture University (CCU) professor Lin Fen-Hsiung to head planning efforts under the advice of CCA, the former Provincial Department of Education and the Yilan County Government.
Located in Yilan, the cradle of Taiwanese Opera, the museum had its original focus on Taiwanese Opera and was tentatively named Taiwanese Opera Information Center.
Later, as the county was found to possess a valuable collection of puppet theater resources, the museum subsequently expanded its scope to include puppet theater and was renamed Taiwan Drama Center.
Following the suggestion of CCU in its submitted proposal in 1998, the museum was officially named Taiwan Theater Museum.
The museum formally opened on 21 April 1990. Housed within the Yilan County Culture Center, it had a space of 660m2 that spanned three floors. This limited space was divided between two display rooms, one featuring Taiwanese Opera and the other puppet theater, and a film screening room for traditional dramas.
Its mission: “to compile information on the development of Taiwanese theater; to survey, gather and collate all things related to folk theater; evaluate its social, cultural and artistic significance, so as to inspire folk artists and to raise and pioneer theatrical art; and through performance, exhibition, and promotion, to deepen public understanding of the meaning and significance of folk theater art; encouraging the coexistence and fusion of traditional folk art with contemporary culture.”
In 1992, the exhibition area was expanded. Approximately 264m2 was added to the second floor and 132m2 to the first floor. A 100m2 collections archive was installed on the third floor. Peikuan Opera and Glove Puppetry were added to the museum's selection for protection and preservation.
In 1998, a further 165m2 of space was added to the first floor. Also new was an exhibition room and a audio-visual library. These additions brought the total operating space to more than 1,300m2.
In 2002, the storage area was renovated into a research room, and the back staircase was converted and incorporated into a mini outdoor theater so as to enhance the museum's promotional and educational capabilities.
In 2004 in cooperation with the Cultural Affairs Bureau, further adjustments were made to become what the museum is today.
Despite modest in size, the Taiwan Theater Museum is comprehensive. It boasts of three exhibition rooms, a screening room, an audio-visual library, a research room, and a service area handling sales, administration and collections. Its operations and services include exhibitions, performances, inheritances, archival, research, publication, and education. The museum continues to make sturdy progress in its lifelong mission to preserve and promote folk theater.