Museum 207 Taipei, Taiwan

Museum 207 Taipei, Taiwan

15th January 2020 0 By livinguktaiwan

Museum 207 is located on Dihua Street, said to be the oldest street in Taipei. Some buildings date back to the 17th century when Formosa (as Taiwan used to be known) was briefly governed by the Dutch. The street still retains much of its historical buildings and character. Today’s star Museum 207, is young by comparison,  but a very interesting building that’s been converted to a museum.

I literally walked past this building, not paying too much attention to it, until a staff standing by the door invited me to take a look at its latest exhibits. Normally, I would ignore anyone who stops me on the streets, as 9 out of 10 times they want to sell me something I don’t need. This was the 10th time. And I’m so glad I stopped!

迪化街據說是台北最古老的街道,有部分建築 從17世紀荷蘭管治的時期已有。 今天帶大家去看的迪化207博物館, 年資上,在迪化街可以說是一個小孩子。  原本我沒有打算去參觀這家博物館,因為在街上十居其九向行人招手的人,都是想對你售賣不需要的商品 。原來這就是第十家 。

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MUSEUM 207

Museum 207 is located on Number 207, Section 1, Dihua Street in Taipei. It’s a relatively new building built in 1962. This used to be a shop that sells Chinese medicine, called Guanghe Tang Chinese Medicine Shop. Its old shop sign can still be seen outside the front exterior.

迪化207博物館座落於台北迪化街一段207號。 它建於1962年,前身是廣和堂藥舖。 以前舊有的招牌,今天仍然掛在大廈外牆。
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THE BUILDING

This building stands out from most of the others on the street due to its architectural style. Many of the other buildings have a baroque style, you can catch a glimpse of this from its neighbour. This one is a bit more modern with an orangey beige tile exterior. Due to its location on the corner and limited floor area, it was built with a curve front to give it that little extra space on the upper floors. A pillar is added outside to support this extra space. I am no expert in architecture and design, but as a layman, I think overall this design incorporate elegance and simplicity.

這棟大廈建築風格跟旁邊的巴洛克式風格不一樣。 橘色的磁磚外牆配上綠色窗架,看起來較為摩登。 它座落轉角位 ,地方有限所以樓上設有弧形窗台增加空間。 而這也變成大樓的獨有風格。
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TERRAZZO ART FLOOR

One of the most remarkable feature of this building, are the terrazzo art on the floor inside. Terrazzo is where you mix composite material, such as marble chips in the old days, with concrete to make a pattern or image. It was very popular when this building was constructed, and a form of art to elevate a simple concrete floor to the next level. There are a few at Museum 207.

The first terrazzo is outside by the front entrance. It’s an image of a bee, to represent the natural ingredients of the Chinese medicine sold in the shop.

我最喜歡房子地上磨石子圖案。 在大門外有一張是蜜蜂,可能代表以前售賣的中藥是天然貨品吧。
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As I walked inside, to what would have been the main shop area in the old days, there was another massive one all along the floor. This was an image of a ginseng, this being one of the products sold in the shop, and the words Old Mountain Korean Gingseng. Ginseng is the root of the plant, but I thought the plant in the artwork looked a bit like a rose. I’ve never seen a ginseng plant before, so don’t know if this is an accurate reflection of what it actually looks like, or whether the artist has added his/her creativity here. Either way, it is something that I’m sure would catch all customers’ eyes as they enter.

進入一樓店面,地上有一張很長的磨石子圖案。至頂寫著老山高麗參,下面是一顆高麗參植物的圖案, 有花有葉也有根部。我相信當年顧客進入商店,一定會被這幅精緻作品吸引著。

 

The last terrazzo artwork is located on the second floor, and is a bunch of grapes. A bit random I thought, for a shop that sells Chinese medicine. One of the staff at the museum explained that grapes have a special meaning in Chinese. Grapes grow in bunches, like a family all connected together. Having a big, close family is something that traditionally the Chinese like. Furthermore, grapes often have a lot of seeds inside and sometimes can be sour. Sour, in Chinese sounds the same as grandchildren. That’s why grapes are considered a good sign for a big family!

It turns out that the upper floors are the private residence of the shop owner, so embedding a bunch of grapes in the terrazzo floor artwork made perfect sense. And why the English writing? This reason was much more simple. Speaking English wasn’t popular in those days if you knew English you were considered superior!

導賞員說店主當年一家住在樓上, 所以二樓有一串很葡萄,還寫上英文字。 我覺得很奇怪,既然賣中藥為什麼會有生果和英文字呢? 傳統上中國人都喜愛大家族,尤其從商都希望生意後繼有人。葡萄象徵多子多孫(酸) 好意頭,所以融入在房子設計裡。 至於英文字? 當年英文便不普遍,懂英文是身份的象徵喔!

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THE INSIDE

The terrazzo artwork extends to some part of the interior of the building. This is the staircase looking down from the second floor to the first floor. For the Americans and Taiwanese, this would be the third floor looking down to the second floor, as unlike us Brits, they don’t have the ground floor. Anyway, back to the staircase. I loved the simplicity of it, and wish I had one like this at my place. It looks so cool.

沿著樓梯走到二樓和三樓,磨石子工藝也在扶手樓梯看到。 這棟房子今天 變了博物館,主要為推動古蹟活化和展示台灣人文歷史。 我到訪當天,剛好有一個名為《老房子新生命》的展覽 。在這裏展出真的很貼切呢!
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The first and second floor are used as exhibition areas. This floor has a photo exhibition of a new book called Old House New Life. It’s about the regeneration of 25 old houses around Taiwan, giving them a new lease of life, very much like Museum 207 in fact. This was exhibited at the rear end of the building.
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At the front of the building are the curved bay windows. They have kept the original wooden window frames, preserving as much as the character of the building as possible. There was a lady sitting by the window sketching the street outside. I know it’s rude, but I just couldn’t resist taking this photo. I hope she doesn’t mind, as I think it’s such a beautiful image.

我走到房子的弧形窗台前觀賞街外景觀, 見到一位女士坐著畫素描,忍不住拍下她的背影。 雖然知道這樣做有點沒禮貌,但覺得這個情景實在很特別,很美。
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THE ROOFTOP

Last and not least, I went upstairs to the rooftop. Although Museum 207 is not tall, it offers a lovely view of the area. From these images, you get a glimpse of what Dihua Street looks like, perhaps not very 2020, just like this building taking you back in time? At street level, it is quite different. It doesn’t exactly take you forward to 2020, but the vibe is very different not to mention a lot more interesting. I’m going to show you that in my future posts. Stay tuned!

迪化207博物館樓層不多,但樓上的觀景區能眺望迪化街在地面看不到的另一番景象, 可以幻想到一點點當年17世紀的風貌。 當然,街上並沒有停留在幾百年前的情境, 下次跟大家分享。
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