Conference article

A Tale of Two Nations

Shin-Chieh Tzeng
Museum and Gallery Studies, School of Art History, University of St Andrews, Scotland

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Published in: Comparing: National Museums; Territories; Nation-Building and Change. NaMu IV; Linköping University; Norrköping; Sweden 18-20 February 2008

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 30:18, p. 233-242

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Published: 2008-05-20


ISSN: 1650-3686 (print), 1650-3740 (online)


It goes without saying that national museums lead a nation’s cultural life. They contribute not only to preserve national collections but also to buildnational identity and to provide life-long learning opportunities. The significance of national museums has gained more and more attention in recent years.

National museums in the UK have the longest history in the world while national museums in Taiwan are still growing in number. This research uses a historical review to investigate the development of national museums in the UK and Taiwan. A product life cycle (PLC) method helps to explain the situation of their evolution. Several influential factors provide some more insights of how these national museums were created and transformed.

Some similarities and differences between national museums in the two nations are depicted for further understanding of the present situation. Consequently; the result has shown that national museums are deeply embedded in the outside environment and need to observe changes and respond to challenges. It is the key point for their sustainability for the future.


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