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National Taiwan Museum

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The building you’ll see heading south at the end of Guanqian Road from K Mall is the beautifully restored National Taiwan Museum (國立臺灣博物館; guólì táiwān bówùguǎn). The museum was completed in 1915 to house artefacts dug up by Japanese archeologists, and today the museum is one of Taipei’s finest colonial buildings, with a Neoclassical facade and 32 Corinthian columns flanking a magnificent whitewashed lobby.

Despite containing four floors of exhibition rooms, only a small part of its huge collection can be displayed at one time, mostly through temporary exhibits in the basement and on the first and third floors (these almost always have English labelling). The only permanent displays are on the second floor, with a marginally interesting area dedicated to Taiwan’s animals and plants, and the far more absorbing original collection of aboriginal artefacts. Highlights include some rare píngpŭ finds, such as tools and wood carvings, as well as a small prehistoric area containing a remarkable ensemble of Neolithic pottery and tools, many from the Beinan site, and a replica of the skull of Tsochen Man, unearthed in Tainan County and estimated to be between 20,000 and 30,000 years old. At the time of writing this section had only basic labelling in English.