The soft-opening of the “Southern Branch of the National Palace Museum” was held at the end of 2015. Our government fulfilled the promise we made to the public, especially residents of Southern Taiwan. The construction of the Southern Branch Museum took 15 years from initiation to implementation. It lasted from the terms of office for the former Presidents of Taiwan, Chen Shui Bian and Ma Ying Jeou, and five Directors of the National Palace Museum, Tu Cheng Sheng, Shih Shou Chien, Lin Man Li, Chou Kung Hsin and Feng Ming Chu.
Tu Cheng Sheng, the former Director of the National Palace Museum, proposed the “New Generation Construction Project of the National Palace Museum” in July 2001, including the construction of the Southern Branch Museum. In January 2003, a 70-hectare piece of land in Taipao City, Chiayi County, was chosen as the base of the Southern Branch Museum. We hoped that the development of the Southern Branch Museum would be different from the National Palace Museum, and we planned for a broader vision. From an Asia-wide perspective, we carried out research, gathered collections and lent our space for exhibition to complete our discussion on the Asia-wide art concept and cultural-historical view. That was how we managed to build the Southern Branch Museum. The Executive Yuan approved the construction project of the Southern Branch Museum on December 15, 2004. It was scheduled that the grand opening would be in 2008. However, the construction was at a standstill due to a contract dispute. Lin Man Li, the former Director of the National Palace Museum, carried out the first project amendment on August 30, 2007, to postpone the grand opening to 2011. When Typhoon Morakot hit Taiwan on August 8, 2009, the hydraulic project for the peripheral area of the Museum was not completed. The base of the Southern Branch Museum was flooded due to the torrential rain brought by the typhoon. Contracts for the design of the museum building were forced to be terminated.
On October 22, 2000, Chou Kung Hsin, the former Director of the National Palace Museum, led staff to complete the “Second Project Amendment for the Construction of the Southern Branch Museum.” The Executive Yuan determined that the soft opening would be held at the end of 2015. The hardware construction of the museum was commissioned to the Construction and Planning Agency, Ministry of the Interior. The decoration, exhibition organizing, art design, planning for all kinds of software facilities, and landscape construction for the 50-hectare area in the park, were carried out and resumed by the National Palace Museum. Therefore, a breakthrough had been achieved for the construction of the Southern Branch Museum. The construction of the main building started on February 6, 2013. Beam-raising was carried out on June 5, 2014. The project went smoothly, and a soft-opening started on December 28, 2015 on schedule. We fulfilled the mission entrusted to the National Palace Museum by our government.