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Young Chinese flock to museums for 'exhibition socials'

China Daily | Updated: 2023-03-28 09:40

NANJING — During the holidays, many young Chinese are inviting their friends to museum exhibitions to appreciate history, and what's called "exhibition socials" are gradually emerging as a popular social activity.

According to data released by travel platform Trip.com, between January to May last year, museums, art galleries and exhibition spaces ranked fourth in the top 10 most popular destinations, and 25 percent of museum reservations were made by people born after 1995.

"Each time I go to the museum, I have the chance to meet other museum lovers. We have also set up a WeChat group to share news about popular exhibitions and to visit exhibitions together," said Zhou Xia, a 26-year-old from Nanjing, Jiangsu province.

According to the National Cultural Heritage Administration, at the end of last year, the number of museums had risen to 6,183.

With a growing number of young attendees, museums are holding exhibits and offering services tailored to appeal to the demographic.

Every morning, much of the Nanjing Museum is crowded with young tourists. They carefully choose postcards and line up in long queues, waiting to have them stamped with images of artifacts found at the museum.

"Young people love collecting stamps, and their passion for stamps is also related to history and culture," said Lian Kai, deputy director of the cultural and creative product department at Nanjing Museum.

Lian noted that each time the museum holds a new exhibition, the stamps are changed accordingly. This is warmly welcomed by the younger generation and revitalizes cultural appreciation.

Many museums around the country have also launched items such as mystery boxes with an archaeological theme. Some contain soil with a miniature artifact inside, which collectors are able to 'excavate' using a small shovel and other tools included with the box.

On March 5, Wuxi Museum in Jiangsu held an exhibition of archaeological relics from the Bronze Age.

In addition to introducing stamps based on exhibits, the local government plans to offer a limited number of 1,000 digital versions of a sword dating back to the Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC-476 BC), each priced at 59 yuan ($8.60).

Many museums make use of digital collectibles to appeal to young people. The collectibles are then sold online and include pieces of music, animation, games and handmade figures.

In 2022, a traditional art auctioneer in Nanjing launched nine digital collectibles based on paintings and calligraphy. The 45,000 copies sold out in just two minutes, bringing in 2.7 million yuan.

According to a report issued by research firm iResearch, China's digital collectibles market was worth 280 million yuan in 2021.


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