NPP asks museums to explain damaged items

  • Sherry Shan / Staff Reporter

The National Palace Museum (NPM) should release the full investigation report and security video on the damage to three relics dating back to the Ming and Qing dynasties, the New Forces Party (NPP) caucuses said yesterday.

The party also said it needed better procedures on how to manage and preserve historical relics.

On February 3, 2019, museum staff were cleaning the storeroom and found a damaged Ming Dynasty stem bowl decorated with two dragons, said NPP Chairman Chen Jiahua. said, citing a report submitted by the museum. Congress on Monday.

Photo: Tu Chien-jung, Taipei Times

The bowl was damaged sometime between a major inventory check on March 2, 2012 and February 3 last year, she said, citing reports.

“But there was information that the stem bowl was broken due to a mistake by the museum staff,” Chen said.

“Museum director Wu Myung has imposed a gag order on the matter and ordered all relevant documents to be treated as classified information,” Chen added.

“The footage captured by the museum’s security cameras is insufficient to confirm whether the damage was caused by human error,” she added.

“Therefore, the museum should hand over all footage of the surveillance system to the legislator so that the truth can be known,” Mr. Chen said.

Wu said Friday that museum staff had completed an investigation into the damage to a stem bowl and a yellow porcelain bowl made during the Kansi period of the Qing dynasty that were found broken when the box was opened. rice field.

The Qianlong Qianlong period porcelain plate of the Qing Dynasty has not yet been investigated and was destroyed by the museum staff.

Wu denied that the museum deliberately hid the incident from the public, but Cheng said the museum only released two investigative reports due to public pressure.

The museum should publish its findings of the damaged third artifact as soon as possible and inform the public of the criteria it used to list certain information as “confidential,” Chen said.

“You should not list certain materials as classified because you want to hide them from public disclosure, and give the public the impression that you only declassified them when you can no longer withstand the pressure of public opinion,” she added.

The incident also highlighted shortcomings in the procedures the museum uses to report and process damaged artifacts, Chen said.

“Museums should notify the Ministry of Culture only if damaged artifacts are classified as national treasures or important cultural properties,” she said.

“However, many of the 700,000 artifacts owned by the museum are not classified as national treasures or important cultural properties. Shouldn’t there be a mechanism to report damage to other artifacts as well?” she said.

The museum’s operating guidelines only dictate how artifacts are managed and preserved, but lack mechanisms to report, verify, investigate and explain incidents to the public when artifacts are damaged, destroyed or lost, she said. said.

NPP lawmaker Wang Wanyu, a member of the legislative body’s education and cultural committee, visited the museum on Monday and requested access to the investigation report.

“Footage recorded by the surveillance system shows a chaotic work area with researchers, employees and machinists all in the same place,” Wang said.

“They were in charge of different tasks, and I couldn’t tell who was in charge of what just by watching the video. This is probably why there was human error,” Wang said. .

Museums should establish standard operating procedures for museum staff working in storage vaults. This reduces the chance of damaging the relic.

An online system should be created to allow museum staff to report artifacts in need of restoration or restoration, she added.

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