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|Title:||The development of biological collections: Taiwan - An analysis and evaluation.|
|Authors:||Chang, Francis Yui-Tan.|
|Presented at:||University of Leicester|
|Abstract:||In emphasising the international nature of museums, it is easy to forget that they exist in different cultural and social settings. The development of museums, their aims and their sense of priorities, are inevitably conditioned by the country in which they emerge. By an appraisal of the development of Taiwan's biological collections, this thesis attempts to demonstrate some of the problems facing developing countries in this important field of natural history museums. Due to Taiwan's unique historical and political background, early biological surveys and collecting were entirely undertaken by European, American and Japanese naturalists. As a result, an enormous number of Taiwan's biological specimens including the great majority of types and first-record voucher specimens are now deposited in overseas museums. Through an examination and analysis of a substantial volume of historical and taxonomic works, this thesis traces the history of biological activities in Taiwan between 1850 and 1945 and attempts an assessment of the quantity and quality of these collections. By means of a case of Robert Swinhoe (1836-77, FRS), the most distinguished pioneering naturalist in Taiwan's early natural history, this writer argues the significance of these collections in Taiwan's current social and scientific context. This research is intended to raise the awareness of biologists and historians in Taiwan and allow them to utilise a rich resource which is now almost completely neglected or considered to have little potential to biological and historical studies today. The thesis then proceeds to investigate the recent development and the present status of biological collections through an analysis of twenty-one major biological collections in Taiwan. The research findings have revealed an alarming picture. It has exposed a lack of staff, suitable storage facilities, adequate management and effective utilisation. In conclusion, the nature of the problems facing the development of biological collections in Taiwan is examined by reference to George Basalla's three-phase model (pioneering, dependent and independent phase) which examines the spread of Western science from its 'centre' to 'peripheral' regions. The independent phase of the development of Taiwan's biological collections is sadly identified as a stage yet to be realised. In an attempt to provide solutions to these problems, two sets of recommendations are proposed. The first focuses mainly on the formation of long-term strategies and policies. The second represents 'working priorities' which are intended to rectify the obvious deficiencies now existing in Taiwan's biological collections.|
|Rights:||Copyright © the author. All rights reserved.|
|Appears in Collections:||Theses, School of Museum Studies|
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