Centennial Exhibition of the May Fourth Movement Opens at History Gallery

Date: 2019/5/13

Image1:The Renaissance: Centennial Exhibition of the May Fourth MovementImage2:Guests pose for a picture during the opening ceremony.Image3:A look at the exhibition.Image4:A glimpse into the stack room.

The Renaissance: Centennial Exhibition of the May Fourth Movement

Guests pose for a picture during the opening ceremony.

A look at the exhibition.

A glimpse into the stack room.

2019 marks the 100-year anniversary of the May Fourth Movement (also known as the New Cultural Movement). To commemorate and reflect on this crucial historic moment, NTU organized “The Renaissance: Centennial Exhibition of the May Fourth Movement,” which includes a series of events such as an exhibition, two keynote speeches, a forum, and a conference. On May 1, the event kicked off amid drizzle at the Gallery of NTU History. President Chung-Ming Kuan (管中閔) was there to deliver an opening speech, and many of the faculty were also present, including Executive Vice President Ching-Hua Lo (羅清華), Librarian Kuang-Hua Chen (陳光華), Dean of the College of Liberal Arts Mu-Hsuan Huang (黃慕萱), and Deputy Dean of the college Fu-Chang Hsu (徐富昌).

The exhibition traces back to the May Fourth Movement that took place way back in 1919, delineating the trajectory of history over the past 100 years and focusing on issues such as how the movement has shaped the world, Taiwan, and NTU into what they are today. It sees Taiwan and NTU as a foothold where the spirit of the May Fourth Movement can be further extended and explored. Thanks to the help from various parties, the NTU Library and History Gallery were able to put together an exhibition that displays the many archive photos from Beijing, the United States, Academia Sinica, and Academia Historica, as well as NTU’s special collection of the manuscripts of certain movement figures. In addition to illustrating the influence of the movement on modern China, the exhibition also delves into how the movement has affected Taiwan and NTU, covering topics ranging from the May Fourth Movement itself to the post-May Fourth Movement period while providing informative content and thought-provoking perspectives.

During the speech, President Kuan said the relocation of the Nationalist government to Taiwan has somehow connected the May Fourth Movement with NTU. In fact, one of the student leaders heading the parade on May 4, 1919, was none other than NTU’s former President Ssu-Nien Fu (傅斯年). When studying at Peking University, President Fu also founded The Renaissance magazine as a positive response to the May Fourth Movement pioneered by Hu Shih (胡適). Many of the NTU faculty members, such as Zi-Shui Mao (毛子水), Shou-Shang Xu (許壽裳), and Jing-Nong Tai (臺靜農), also participated in the movement or interacted closely with those who did. What is worth mentioning is that, when The Renaissance was reissued by NTU's Department of Chinese Literature on May 4, 1961, it was inscribed with Mr. Tai's handwriting and used "May Fourth Movement, Reborn!" as its founding motto. The fact that this exhibition took on the name of the magazine can be considered a tribute to the timeless spirit of the May Fourth Movement.

Meanwhile, President Kuan also spoke of the far-reaching influence of the movement on him. “I was fortunate enough to be able to witness the 60th anniversary of the May Fourth Movement when I was young. There were many articles written to discuss and reflect on the movement. Those were my cultural enlightenment, and have enriched my understanding of this historic event,” he said. “How are we supposed to view this movement today? Ying-Shih Yu (余英時) wrote in 1955 that ‘If we know only to extol the May Fourth Movement, we may appear the protectors of cultural advancement on the outside but are in fact the revivalists who hinder the advancement of our culture.’ This year marks the centennial of the May Fourth Movement, and I am happy that NTU has taken on itself to organize such an exhibition and a series of relevant events. I hope more and more people will start from here, recognize the important role the May Fourth Movement has played in our history and culture, and seek to unearth more about the movement's significance to modern Taiwan.”

After the opening ceremony, the staff at the Gallery of NTU History showed guests around the exhibition, which begins at the entrance of the 2nd floor with a variety of dialogue boxes. The main part of the exhibition is situated in the stack room between the 1st and the 2nd floor. It certainly feels like traveling back in time when following the docent into this once forbidden part of the building, where different cultural relics and stories are on display.

The exhibition is well-presented, with a design that matches perfectly with the theme. Visitors are more than welcome to stop by and have a look.

Venue: Gallery of NTU History, National Taiwan University
Time: 2019/5/2 (Thu.) - 6/30 (Sun.), closed on Tuesday & holidays.

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