Taiwan launches national museum expansion
Taiwan's top museum, which houses one of the world's largest Chinese imperial art collections, has launched an expansion plan similar to France's Grand Louvre project, an official said Sunday.
The decade-long plan starting 2012, officially unveiled by President Ma Ying-jeou last week, will expand the Taipei National Palace Museum's exhibition area by five times.
The expansion plan, estimated to cost at least Tw$20 billion ($654 million), is Taiwan's answer to the Grand Louvre project in France, a museum official said.
The aim of the expansion is to turn it into a "world class" museum, she added.
The museum is a must see for hundreds of thousands of Chinese visitors travelling to the island after Ma Ying-jeou of Taiwan's China-friendly Kuomintang party came to power in 2008.
"The existing facilities are hardly enough to meet the demand of growing visitors," which grew from 3.44 million last year to 2.84 million at the end of September, the official said.
The Taipei museum holds more than 655,000 Chinese artifacts spanning 7,000 years from the prehistoric Neolithic period to the end of the Qing dynasty. The collection was shipped across the Taiwan Strait to Taiwan in the late 1940s.
© 2011 AFP