In the 16th century Taiwan started to be known in the Western world by the appellation “Formosa,” which meant “beautiful island.” During the subsequent 400 years of historical changes, Taiwan’s beautiful mountains and rivers have seen moving stories of past generations starting on the difficult path of modernization as their blood mixed with their tears.

The exhibition highlights the lifestyle and social activities of the earliest inhabitants of Taiwan from prehistoric times. The vision is then extended convey the interaction of the ancient Taiwanese people and peoples from other regions in Asia and the backgrounds and conditions that led to the rise of maritime commerce. The historical stages and features of stage in the development of Taiwan from prehistoric times are featured. The exhibition demonstrates the importance of archaeological research and the nature of archaeological work at  excavation sites in Taiwan.

Between 1960 and 2000, the sharp increase in the living standard of Taiwanese people has been almost unprecedented in human history. The island’s GDP growth rate during this period was ranked number one in the world. In the early 1960s, the successful expansion of textile and electronics exports ignited the high growth rate in post-war Taiwan. The main reason stemmed from the high quality of Taiwan’s labor force and wages that were low compared to other countries. This combination made its labor-intensive industries competitive in international markets. However, the high growth rate in post-war Taiwan brought about a rise in wages. Thus, by the early 1990s wages in Taiwan were higher than those of many low-wage countries. Consequently, many factories were relocated to countries where workers were paid lower wages. As a result, the economic growth rate declined and wages stagnated.

Taiwan was called “the land of subtropical diseases” in early times because of the various infectious diseases that plagued this subtropical island. When Japan took over Taiwan in 1895, the western medical system was introduced by the colonizer, removing the mysterious veil of these infectious diseases. Anti-epidemic measures were taken, and Taiwan entered the modern era of public health. This exhibition shows how Japanese troops suffered from epidemics in the early phase of the Japanese Occupation Period, which serves as a background to explain the policy of scientific colonization proposed by Goto Shimpei. He promoted modern medicine and established a health system and sanitary conditions. Increased sanitation helped decrease the devastation of epidemics. Plague and malaria are taken as examples to show how Taiwanese society were introduced to foreign concepts and came to embrace modern sanitation.

National Central Library (NCL) holds an exhibition titled “The Beauty and Grace of Thailand—An Exhibition of Thailand in 'Taiwan Memory'”. The exhibition highlights the close connection and relations between Thailand and Taiwan. With seven themes on display, including statistics, rare books, Japanese investigation reports, memories of Taiwan’s celebrities, services of the public library, fun in daily life, footages, as well as getting souvenir stamps, with 100 books published over a period of 400 years, the exhibition shows the beauty and grace of Thailand in the memory of the Taiwanese people.

In 2019, National Central Library held an exhibition on the fifth floor of the library called “Images of Childhood in Taiwan Memory.” The display was divided into four main themes: Children’s Games, Children’s Clothing, Children and Animals, and Children and Women. Images such as a young boy in a palm-bark rain cap with a water buffalo, or an aboriginal child with cool hair pulling back a bow, show the images of children in peoples’ minds over the last hundred years in Taiwan.

The exhibition showcases school memories from different generations based on content archived in the Taiwan Memory database. It is divided into four main units: traditional Chinese education (academies), Western education (missionaries and colonists), education after 1945, and a general survey of education in Taiwan.

Exhibition content includes a themed book display, the exteriors of different academies, students in class during the Japanese occupation, and the content of Taiwan textbooks. The public and institutions are invited to participate and share their resources, jointly creating a chain of “school memories across the generations.”