Railway heritage reloaded into the Luodong forestry culturescapes
The heritage of industrialisation is endowed with an emerged position or meaning to the past as well as the future, and this is part of the modernisation process within the context of industrialisation. The knowledge economy leads to the development of the remains of industrial culture towards a second industrial heritage revolution. The challenge follows and interrogates how industrial heritage can be made relevant (useful/meaningful) in an ostensibly post-industrial world. It refers to the changing profile of visitors for industrial heritage; visitors that have already shifted a generation and are increasingly distant from the industrialised culture that the pioneers of industrial heritage were able to make reference to. However, industrial heritage, sometimes unknowingly, continues to play a significant ‘reminding’ role, not only of things once produced but of this wider popular science context. A more interventionist and interpretative approach is being adopted for heritage including the integration of popular science in narrative development.
The complexities of modern Taiwan’s multicultural legacies are revealed through the presentation in industrial heritage sites. Owing to the lack of principles of industrial archaeology and less experience of dealing with industrial heritage conservation in the early stage, many remains of industrial heritage sites are less connected to society. Meanwhile, the industrial heritage requires further transformation and valorisation to the new audiences who have no experience of the industrial revolution. Industrial heritage becomes a neutral concept which is a carrier, medium and public sphere to provide various knowledge bases for the present and the future to the public. The interpretation of these sites attempts to integrate the local knowledge along with popular science widely.
This paper takes the exhibition hall reuse program of the railway carriage inspection and repair shop in Luodong forestry cultural park as a case study. It examines the agenda of the curation development by referring to the principles stated in the ICOMOS Charter for the Interpretation and Presentation of Cultural Heritage Sites. This case study explores three dimensions between the curators, experts, and administrators in the perspectives of interpreting the industrial legacy along with the scientific discourse. The program with the interpretation of popular science embedded by the local context, reveals the new interpretative approach that connects to new generations and communities that have long been disconnected from industrial culture.
Societies are adopting different approaches to the valuation of heritage with the emergence of newly appreciated remains and remnants of the past. Engaging with younger generations and cross-cultural audiences is a useful way of exploring just how relevant the remains of the industrial past are in a service sector dominated, technologically driven, closely connected mobile world. The knowledge economy inspires approaches to protecting and managing heritage. This paper argues that there is a new reality in dealing with heritage; a reality that requires imagination in the application of scientific discourse and that can inspire the heritage stakeholders by visiting the past but also developing the future.