The NTCRI has its origins as the Nantou District Handicrafts Research Group, which was established in 1935. Nantou was selected for the group’s founding as it was rich in the elements handicrafters most often utilized in their works. A handicrafter training program was begun in Zhushan Village. In 1954, following the relocation of the Republic of China government to Taiwan, the organization was removed to its current home in Caotun Village. In 1959, it was rebranded as the Nantou County Handicrafts Research Center.
In 1973, the better to improve the quality of products made by traditional handicrafters, and therefore improve their marketability, the Center was again re-envisioned, this time as the Taiwan Province Handicraft Research Center, and became a third-level government organization under the provincial government.
In 1999, the Taiwan Provincial Government was reorganized, and the Center again enjoyed a new christening, this time as the National Taiwan Craft Research Institute, an organization under the Council for Cultural Affairs, becoming as a result a fourth-level government organization.
In 2003, to spur the sustainable, continual development of handicrafts in Taiwan, the Taiwan Craft Cultural Park was created. Covering six hectares, the Park serves many functions, aiding in the preservation, research, promotion, and display of crafts, as well as hands-on education.
Seven years later, that is, in 2010, to reflect its growing role as an incubator for handicrafts, the center was recast as the National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute, remaining under the Council for Cultural Affairs and still a fourth-level government organization.
In 2012, the Council for Cultural Affairs was upgraded to the Ministry of Culture, and gained oversight over the NTCRI, which was upgraded to a third-level government organization. Today, the Institute is working on bringing crafting into a new and exciting era of development.