Beijing plans to build new 'palace museum'

Updated 2016-10-25 10:26:30 Global Times

Beijing plans to build a new "palace museum" near the Old Summer Palace to display more collections of the Forbidden City to tourists.

Shan Jixiang, the curator of the Palace Museum in Beijing, said at the International Smart Tourism Conference 2016 in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province, that the new museum will be located 25 kilometers from the Forbidden City, north of the Old Summer Palace and south of the Great Wall and the Ming Tombs Reservoir, the China News Service reported Monday.

Currently, the biggest problem for the Forbidden City is that it cannot display majority of its collections, said Shan, adding that only some 20 percent of the collections of the world's biggest museum and 0.5 percent of about 1.8 million antiques of the Forbidden City can be displayed to the public, despite some 80 exhibitions it holds annually.

Li Mingde, vice president of the Beijing Tourism Society, told the Global Times on Monday that the Forbidden City houses abundant collections. However, almost 80 percent of the tourists visit the Forbidden City to see the buildings instead of the collections.

"Therefore, if the museum exhibits too many collections in the halls, it will distract tourists from appreciating the architecture," said Li, revealing that the Forbidden City is creating more space for exhibition by removing unnecessary constructions.

The new museum will occupy an area of 125,000 square meters during the first phase of construction, said the report, adding that a large number of collections will be exhibited afterwards. In addition, more collections of the Forbidden City will undergo restoration.

The Forbidden City has built a digital museum to help tourists learn about its collections. A click on the screen can show the audience the history and status of a certain building, and tourists can also copy famous calligraphies with the help of the technology.

Some 76 percent of the buildings and exhibition area in the Forbidden City are open to the public, and the percentage will reach 85 by 2020.

The Forbidden City attracts more than 15 million visitors annually. In 2015, it started to restrict the number of visitors to no more than 80,000 per day to reduce pressure on its facilities and staff.

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