The Definitive List of Taipei Museums
Planning on visiting a museum or two in Taipei? Start here with our definitive guide to the city's best options.
National Palace Museum
Few people leave Taipei without first paying a visit to the grandiose National Palace Museum, a sight that always sits securely on any "Must see in Taipei" list. It has one of the largest collections of Chinese art and artifacts in the world, with a permanent collection of nearly 700,000 pieces encompassing over 10,000 years of Chinese history. You'll find no shortage of beautiful relics from bygone eras in the form of antiques, calligraphy, paintings, rare books and documents.
National Museum of History
Housed in a traditional Ming and Qing dynasty style building, the ample collection at the National Museum of History will hook anyone interested in learning more about Taiwan's rich and continuing history.
While the museum originally focused on showcasing artifacts from China's Henan Museum and post Sino-Japanese War relics, the collection today boasts a more expansive collection of artifacts and relics dating back to the Neolithic period and going through the ancient Chinese dynasties of Shang, Zhou, Han, Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing to contemporary times.
National Taiwan Museum
Boasting the title of Taiwan's oldest museum, the National Taiwan Museum was established by the colonial Japanese government in 1908. The museum provides a fascinating catalogue of Taiwan's development and invites visitors to develop an insight into Taiwan's evolution.
Covering topics on earth sciences, humanitarian developments, zoology, and botany over five departments, the museum's own tumultuous history is as interesting as the wares inside.
2-28 Memorial Museum
Want to delve even deeper into Taiwan's history? Walk on over to the 2-28 Memorial Museum just around the bend. The museum illuminates a dark time in Taiwan's modern political history and commemorates the 228 massacre, Taiwan's bloodiest mass killing.
Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall
Inside the magnificent Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall is a museum dedicated to providing an overview of the life of the "Father of the Republic of China" and the revolution he led with a handful of panel displays and historical relics.
Museum of Drinking Water
Those thirsty for a different part of Taipei's history should make a beeline for the historic pumping station which houses the Museum of Drinking Water. After you've drenched yourself in details on Taipei's history of waterworks, take a stroll around the majestic baroque-style backdrop and gardens.
Ketagalan Culture Center
Interested in acquiring an understanding of the multitude of Aboriginal groups native to Taiwan? At the Ketagalan Culture Center in Beitou you can read up on the various Pingpu indigenous tribes of Taiwan and appreciate well curated displays of tools, weaponry, clothing and artwork.
Hot Spring Museum
While you're in Beitou, mosey over to the Hot Spring Museum to learn more about the country's hot spring culture. Change into a pair of slippers and walk around the former bathhouse-turned-educational facility to find yourself whisked back a hundred years to the very beginnings of the tradition.
Museum of Anthropology
If you want a break from the crowds, head over to the often overlooked Museum of Anthropology. Located on the grounds of Taiwan's prestigious National Taiwan University, the collection of ethnological and archaeological treasures boasts over 200,000 pieces and includes a good variety of artifacts, photos, films and recordings about Taiwan's past.
Pint-sized patrons will no doubt enjoy a memorable day engaging with the kid-friendly exhibits at the Astronomical Museum. With spellbinding displays in the exhibition hall, a rooftop observatory and an IMAX Theater kitted out with an a fisheye-lens projector and a Zeiss planetarium system to boot, the only problem you'll have is convincing your kids that they can't make like the movie and spend the night.
Puppet Theatre Museum
The Puppet Theatre Museum will delight young and old alike with its stimulating puppet shows and colourful wares. The museum was established to preserve and promote traditional Asian puppet culture, and it easily exceeds its goal by being home to more than 10,000 local and international theatre items including glove, water, string and shadow puppets.
For a prime example of Taipei's more odd museum offerings, look no further than the Postal Museum. A dreamland of all things postal related, the four floors here will allow you to develop an appreciation for the history of Taiwan and China's postal service, Chunghwa Post, its modern postal operations and various memorabilia.
Last but not least, how about the charming Miniatures Museum? Some of you might scoff at the idea, but you'd be surprised how fun it is to burn an hour or so peering and pointing at the incredibly detailed scale worlds on display here. The level of craftsmanship is impressive, and the teeny tiny works is sure to bring out a child-like sense wonder to even the crustiest curmudgeons.