From Ephemeral to Eternal|
The Journey of Insect specimens in a Museum
July 22 - November 22, 2015
The 3rd Exhibition Gallery, Life Science Hall
Your heart will be shattered by sorrow if you force it to live in tomorrow's ephemeral imaginaion,
world instead of in today's eternal reality.
－ Sri Chinmoy －
A museum is distinguished by a collection of often unique objects that forms the core of its activities for research, education, and exhibitions. A museum normally has collecting policy for new acquisitions. Usually objects are accepted, accessed, catalogued, and then computerized or digitized. Through this sophisticated process ephemeral objects in Nature are converted into eternal properties of human beings.
Since its humble planning office at Chung Hsing University with 312 items in 1981, the National Museum of Natural Science now houses more than one million specimens and artifacts in its anthropology, biology, and geology research divisions. Approximately 60 % of the collection is significant alcohol-preserved and slide-mounted insect material, and the collection is growing by more than 20,000 specimens each year. Most of the insect specimens are collected by the Museum's curators, 25% of them are private donations including Masataka Sato's Asian long-horned beetles and multicolored Asian lady beetles, Mr. Chang Pao-hsin's Taiwan Lepidoptera (butterflies & moths), Dr. Lian Ri-cheng's Tipulidae (crane flies), and Mr. Wang Sheng-jian's various insect specimens.
The Museum's insect collections, which were already impressive, got a boost with the donation of more than 8,000 beetle specimens from Mr. Lin Wen-hsin. In 2011, Lin died in an accident when he was conducting insect investigation in Hainan Island, and his family donated his beetle specimens to the Museum in 2013. Based on Lin's donation, the Museum presents the new exhibition entitled "From Ephemeral to Eternal: The Journey of Insect specimens in a Museum" in honor of Lin's contribution to the Museum's collection.
In addition to displaying part of Lin's beetle specimens, "From Ephemeral to Eternal" also introduces principles and methods of collections and the process of specimen management. This insect exhibition beginning with a colored paper tree showing insect richness interprets the journey of insect specimens in the museum. From collection, preparation, and fixation of specimens to their use for future study or display, visitors will go deep into the heart of the Museum's new state-of-the-art scientific research and collection facility to open up the amazing journey of converting ephemerality into eternality.
"From Ephemeral to Eternal" is arranged into four parts: Artifacts Accessioning, Specimens Making & Caring, Collections Management, and Collections Research & Use. There are photos, schemes, films, and objects and so on to provide details of the journey. On Wednesdays and weekends visitors can even see our staff pin the specimens onto the mounting board in a small scientific illustration studio built with French windows in an eye-catching corner. Striving to achieve a level of "green curating" that cuts down on this exhibition's carbon footprint, the exhibition curating team uses a large amount of recycled paper to decorate the gallery, where Mr. Hong Hsin-fu's paper decoration adds more attraction to the gallery.
"As article length should be about quality of content," says Museum Director Sun Wei-hsin, "Mr. Lin Wen-hsin lived fully although he died young. Along with his insect specimens, he will live in our memories and in our hearts forever." Sun also notes that the exhibition offers visitors a chance to go behind the scenes of the museum work, and concludes with great appreciation to Lin's family, who donated the specimens to the Museum.
Sun & Lin's Brother
Assistant Curator at the Museum's Biology Department Jeng Ming-luen emphasizes the importance of the Museum collections, "Our museum collections serve many purposes. Mostly, visitors are only seeing the tip of a very large iceberg, since the vast proportion of the Museum collections is in storage," continues Jeng. "But that doesn't mean that the majority of our collections aren't used. Far from it, we use our specimens in survey and research efforts, making a significant contribution to the advancement of academic research, or use them in inspiring exhibitions and educational programs for our visitors."
Go behind the scenes in a journey that gives you access to the heart of the Museum!
- Admission is included with gallery tickets.
- Specimen making demonstrations are available on Wednesdays & weekends, 9:30am & 2:30pm.
From Ephemeral to Eternal is presented by the National Museum of Natural Science.
This exhibition is proudly supported by
the Department of Entomology, Chung-hsing University.
This exhibition is made possible by the generosity of Chan Mei-ling, Chen Tsan-rong, Chen Yian-lin, Chen Yi-jing, Chung Yi-lu, Fang Hwa-sheng, Guo Bo-hsin, Hong Hsin-fu, Hsiao Yun, Hsieh Rui-fan, Huang Shi-chien, Huang Yi-fong, Lee Chi-fong, Lee Huei-yong, Lin Cheng-fong, Lin Cheng-shan, Lin Chian-nan, Lin Chung-ping, Lin Hwa-ching, Wu Li-wei, Yen Wen-bin, and Zeng Huei-yun. (Alphabetically)