Adventures in East Asia

Danshui Part 4 - Shihsanhang Museum of Archaeology

The Shihsanhang Museum of Archaeology, located in the town of Bali, is touted as a remarkable achievement - a modern architectural masterpiece that won the coveted Far East Architecture Award in 2003. With such recognition, we purposefully made our way to the museum by catching one of the frequent ferries across the river from Danshui to Bali.


Upon arriving at the ferry pier, we went up a short alley directly ahead of us to reach the main Longmi Road where we caught the red bus 13. The bus traveled for about ten minutes alongside the river before dropping its passengers off at the museum and making its way back along the same route.

The Shihsanhang Museum of Archaeology was certainly striking to perceive on first arrival if not immediately making its entrance obvious. It's bold and angular shape incorporated wide steps leading up and over its lower, rounded roof, whilst a separate protrusion cut out into the air above at a different angle.


If not for the heat, I most likely would have walked up to the roof but as it were, we made for the air-conditioned interior as quickly as possible.


The museum housed exhibits that represent Taiwan's prehistory and is in fact built atop an archaeological site rich in relics from the Shihsanhang people.


These prehistoric inhabitants were the first in Taiwan to have iron smelting technology and practiced agriculture as well as harvesting clams and other seafood from the Danshui delta.


From the basement entrance, we noted the museum shop in a corner before making our way into the exhibition space.


We had to walk up one flight of steps initially, which gave us a view of the several levels above us, before reaching the main exhibition space on the first floor.


There were several rooms grouping the artefacts that consisted of stone tools, and primative weapons, and model displays illustrating different scenarios.


A dig site was recreated in one room laying out some the bone remains whilst nearby, an exhibit explained how realistic models of the Shihsanhang people are created. Why there was a muppet-like mannequin I don't know.


One central room immersed visitors in a landscape that lights up different illustrations and models in response to a voice over explaining how the Shihsanhang people lived and developed.


We heard that the narration was in mandarin originally, but a casual conversation with a guard led to him offering to switch the narration over to English. Thanks to his consideration, we were able to appreciate the history that was told.


After exploring the first floor, we returned back to the stairs and climbed upwards, scaling four storeys to cross the Timeline bridge. The height enabled us to look down on some of the exhibits below, as well as look out at the surrounding land beside the museum.


We did expect more exhibition rooms at this point, but the only thing left to do was to go back down a short flight of steps to reach the top of a narrow, outside staircase that led back down to the ground floor and outside the museum.


Though "innovative", I did question the logic of this exit, since we then had to re-enter the museum's main entrance to gain access to the museum shop.

More photos of the Shihsanhang Museum of Archaeology on Flickr

This entry posted in : Attractions. History. Taiwan.

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