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Feb. 28 Incident Witness: George Kerr Exhibition at City Hall

Art editor ImgThe Discovery Center of Taipei is holding the “American, George Kerr, dedicated his whole life to Taiwan” Exhibition until May 22. George H. Kerr, the former United States Vice-counsul in Taipei and the author of the book “Formosa Betrayed,” recorded the details of the February 28 Incident from an international perspective. His work also led readers to ponder about the future of the island.

How did an American youth born in the beginning of the 20th century find himself on an island on the other side of the Pacific Ocean? How did a former English substitute teacher become Vice-counsul at the US embassy and witness the entire February 28 Incident? During the opening ceremony for the exhibition, Department of Information and Tourism Commissioner Chien Yu-yen noted that she herself read Kerr’s work at the recommendation of her friend. After reading the book, she was deeply touched by Kerr’s concern for and devotion to Taiwan.

A visitor experiences an interactive installation at the exhibition.For the exhibition, the organizers borrowed the original copy of the painting “American Embassy in Taipei United States Independence Day Banquet” from the Taipei 228 Memorial Museum. One of the few watercolor paintings on contemporary topics by renowned Taiwanese painter Ran In-ting, Chien noted that the work has to undergo several restoration efforts before being displayed at the venue. She promised to organize future exhibitions spotlighting great stories involving residents of the city. During the press event, Former Minister of Health Shi Chun-ren recalled fond memories of the then-29-year-old Kerr during the American’s stint as English teacher at Taihoku High School before World War 2.

The exhibition will also showcase a number of important artifacts, including a tactical map on the Pacific Theater from World War 2 period, correspondences and manuscripts by Kerr, as well as valuable images of Taiwan’s cultural and daily scenes from the era, allowing visitors to better understand Kerr’s role as an Taiwan expert and his interest in the culture and tradition of Taiwan. In addition to articles from Kerr’s personal collection, the organizers also arranged the display of items from the historical materials room at Taiwan Normal University (formerly Taihoku High School), Taipei Municipal Jianguo High School (formerly Taipei First High School), and the private collections of author and historian Chen Rou-jin. These objects will offer visitors a view of Kerr’s career as English teacher at Taihoku High School, which was considered the top elite school of the city boasting outstanding graduates in the medical field.

A docent gives guided tours of the exhibition.Another spotlight of the exhibition centers on materials from World War 2 period, including photos of American bombardment of Taipei provided by the National Museum of Taiwan History and Signed Illustration of Japanese Surrender Ceremony in Taiwan. Images of George Kerr himself were also provided by the Okinawa Prefectural Archives, allowing visitors to see Kerr as himself. There is also an interactive section which allows visitors to take photos of themselves in the uniform of Taihoku High School.

Copies of “Formosa Betrayed” in English, Chinese, and Japanese are also on display at the exhibition. For more information on the George Kerr exhibition, please visit the Chinese website of the Discovery Center of Taipei (http://discovery.gov.taipei/) or call the 1999 Citizen Hotline (ext. 8630).

A photo opportunity with dignitaries at the exhibitionAmerican, George Kerr, dedicated his whole life to Taiwan Exhibition
Date: February 24 – July 3, 2016
Time: 9 AM – 5 PM (closed Mondays and national holidays)
Venue: Second Floor, Discovery Center of Taipei, Taipei City Hall
Admission: Free
Note: No camera flash; No eating or drinking; No pets; Long umbrellas or other hazardous items not permitted at the venue.