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China to mark Intl Museum Day at Beijing's Capital Museum

By Wang Kaihao | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2021-05-10 09:32

Chinese museums and cultural heritage conservators will embrace the 45th International Museum Day nationwide on May 18, with the main venue of the national-level celebration set in the Capital Museum in Beijing, according to a news conference of the National Cultural Heritage Administration on May 8.

A major exhibition on the conservation of museum collections will be launched in the museum on that day to review China's efforts in cultural relic protection in recent years. About 50 exhibits on loan from 23 institutions nationwide, including the Palace Museum in Beijing, China National Silk Museum in Hangzhou of Zhejiang province, and Dunhuang Academy in Gansu province, will be showcased for the highlighted event, according to Guan Qiang, deputy director of the national administration.

The event will also hold lectures, symposiums, and forums on museum development in the Capital Museum around that day; unveil a series of key statistics in Chinese museum development; and bestow awards for the best museum exhibitions of 2020.

The theme for this year's International Museum Day -- "The Future of Museums: Recover and Reimagine" -- reflects the heavy impact of COVID-19 on the museum industry around the globe. A survey by UNESCO shows museums across the world were closed for about 150 days in average in 2020 due to the pandemic, and their income decreased over 40 percent compared with 2019. Thanks to China's timely efforts to contain the virus, Chinese museums were shut for less than 30 days on average last year.

Still, Guan emphasized the importance of enhancing global cooperation to handle the crisis in the aftermath of COVID-19. Cross-border training programs on cultural heritage and exchange exhibitions will be held through online platforms later this year.

According to Chen Mingjie, director of the Beijing Municipal Administration of Cultural Heritage, the capital city will use the celebratory events related to the International Museum Day as an opportunity to accelerate the process of transforming Beijing into "a city of museums".

As Chen reveals, Beijing has 197 registered museums, topping all Chinese cities, and 18 of them are listed at the country's highest level for such institutions.

He promised that, within the city's old neighborhoods, many historical buildings, including ancient architecture and abandoned factories, will be turned into museums in the near future. About 100 cultural venues, including museums and art galleries, are planned to be built by 2025 in the Chaoyang district alone. And the Daxing International Airport is also joining hands with the Capital Museum to introduce exhibitions to this transportation gateway.

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