There are ten museums in National Taiwan University, and guided tours are held regularly every Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. Each tour includes a visit to three museums. Today my companions are Jenny and her eight-month-old baby Ian. As we walk along, Jenny, an alumna of NTU, is surprised to learn the rich collections of the university.
The first museum on the tour every Wednesday is Museum of Anthropology. The major is never a popular one among incoming students, but the collection is definitely amazing, housing mainly the objects and artifacts from fourteen aboriginal tribes in Taiwan. In the picture is the canoe rowed by the Thao on Sun Moon Lake.
The Thao depend much on the fish in Sun Moon Lake, so they invented innovative bamboo fish traps.
The totems of the aboriginal tribes are wonderful inspirations for the cultural creative industries.
The Paiwan people, who can be found at the southern tip of the Central Range and the eastern coastal mountain areas, are known for their wooden carvings.
The Tao tribe, living on Lanyu, is the only one without the tradition of headhunting. They rely heavily on the ocean, and their native canoes are not only of practical use but also known for their artistic value.
The second museum of the day is TAI Herbarium, which highly interests me. It is a lush piece of land with three outdoor gardens, including the wetland plant garden, the Japanese plant garden and the fern garden, which is open only on guided tours.
There will be a bread-fruit tree festival on August 17 in the herbarium, which is this coming Saturday.
Two weeks ago the ecology teacher I met in the Youth Park told us that small-leaved Barringtonia can be found on the campus of NTU. I am very lucky to have seen some in bloom today. It takes much time to observe a flower so that we can see every stage of its growth and death as well.
Yellow water lily, native to Taiwan.
The highlight of the day is the fern garden because it is only accessible with the company of a tour guide. Our campus guide, a student of NTU, says he often lingers outside the iron gate, wondering what's inside.
The tour guide compares the garden to the Jurassic Park. It's really amazing to learn that ferns are as old as dinosaurs. The ferns in the photo are tall and thick enough to cover a person!
The fern garden is not huge at all, but it's so full of life. I am looking forward to working here in the coming months.
During the walk, we've run into many graduates and students of NTU. They don't hesitate to talk to us or give us a hand. Besides, being really brilliant, they ask advanced questions on the tour. Jenny also sees the possibility of working as a volunteer in the future. Looking back on this summer break, I came because I felt my life was so narrow. But I've found new possibilities along the way. What a lovely gift from God!