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Chen Kuo-Ning

Human civilizations are embodied in objects. Humans use their intelligence and technology to create a wide range of objects that have their place in both daily life and the life of the spirit, as well as less tangible musical and movement-based performance—also thoughtful, emotional and rich in deeper meaning.

How we live together and strive towards a better future is a question that can be applied to every aspect of our lives: in our relationships with Nature, other living creatures, the environment, and human society. Likewise, how do we view ourselves and find happiness and peace of mind? Clues can often be found in places such as libraries, schools, temples, churches and so on. Museums in particular, with their artefacts and audiovisual recordings, are a valuable source of information about this kind of knowledge and civilized values.

The museum is a vehicle for culture, preserving tangible and intangible cultural and natural assets, interpreting cultural evolution, and undertaking cultural communication and education. Now more than ever, the museum must meet social needs and keep its finger on the pulse, using cultural assets to create new social momentum and socio-economic enterprises, and promoting international cultural exchange and collaboration. In the last century, the role of the museum has undergone tremendous change: from conserving cultural artefacts and spreading cultural education to supporting the creative industries and advocating for social harmony. The museum is a hub for cultural organizations, and museum staff have to develop professional aptitudes that cover a range of areas because we need a team of people possessing different specialities and who have a passion both for museum work and for bringing about social harmony.

For more than fourteen years, the Museum of World Religions has been working hard and receiving kind donations and support, and this has given us an excellent foundation. How will the museum continue to deal with social transformation and the new challenges that come with our changing role in society? In addition to conserving cultural assets and promoting cultural education, we shall be expanding our capabilities by joining together with Master Hsin Tao’s Ling Jiou Mountain Buddhist Society to form a new enterprise and by making our cultural assets publicly accessible. In this way, we shall bring culture, education and religion together as one in order to promote harmony and cooperation and lead our society step by step towards respect, peace, universal love and care for our planet. In fact, it will not be such a long journey, as long as we fully committed. And we want to inspire everyone to take part.

I hope that in the future, in addition to static displays, the museum will put on more performances and make more audiovisual programmes. By inviting the collaboration of performance artists and installation artists and encouraging public participation, we can transform the whole museum into a theatre. Because audience and artist are not opposites but two halves of a whole.

The museum’s important collection of several thousand items must not be simply locked up in a dark storeroom, never to see the light of day. Rather, they must be brought out into the open so that people can see them for what they are and then share their thoughts and views. We must also build links between our information systems and those of international organizations of religion and culture so that we do not merely keep our cultural preservation skills to ourselves.

I hope the museum will appeal to young and old alike. To this end, and in order to make exhibitions more effective and to ensure that special exhibitions receive the attention they deserve, when we plan special exhibitions we should give consideration to the makeup of our audience and what they need.

Our life education programme will be expanded to reach schools across the nation, including remote areas. In addition to public sector support from the Ministries of Culture and Education and the New Taipei City government, in recent years we have also received support from the Wang Yung-ching Educational Foundation and the Wang Yueh-lan Charitable Foundation, which has enabled us to mount many successful events. We hope to be able to organize more collaborations with organizations for cultural education in Taiwan and abroad.

In addition, we also plan to promote art design of craft products and utensils that can be used as gifts or to brighten up everyday life with a touch of beauty.

In short, the key to our museum’s success is public support and participation.



  • 1968–1970 Master of Art, Graduate Institute of Arts, Chinese Culture University
  • 1974–1975 Museum and Cultural Research, Cultural Learning Research Institute, East–West Center, University of Hawaii
  • 1987–1988 Fulbright scholarship to study Art Education at the College of Liberal Arts, Purdue University



  • 1970–1999 Professor at Chinese Culture University; Curator of the Hwa Kang Museum
  • 1999–2006 Associate Professor and Director of the Institute of Aesthetics and Art Management, Nanhua University
  • 2006–2010 Associate Professor and Director of the Graduate Institute of Museology, National Tainan University of the Arts
  • 2010–present Associate Professor, Graduate Institute of Conservation of Cultural Relics and Museology, National Tainan University of the Arts


Other current positions

  • Deputy Director General, Chinese Association of Museums
  • Deputy Director General, International Council of Museums–Asia-Pacific (ICOM-ASPAC)
  • Chair, [Committee for Cross-straits Exchange in Museology]


Areas of expertise: Curation and Collection Management, Art Administration, Chinese Art History

Professor Chen Kuo-Ning receives frequent requests from various government departments to act as committee member, consultant or review member, and to carry out projects. She has organized countless international museum seminars and special forums in Taiwan and has published nearly a hundred papers and five monographs on museology. She has participated at numerous international museology conferences in the United States, Russia and China, and is very active in international museology circles, with publications in the UNESCO museology periodical.


2010 Excellent Senior Teacher, Devotion in Education Award