China’s museums keep growing, attracting more visitors

China has become one of the countries with the fastest growing museum capability in the world during the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020), which is not only good news for museum-lovers, but has also brought more visitors to museums.

A visitor takes photos of an exhibit during a mineral-themed exhibition at Nanjing Museum in Nanjing, east China’s Jiangsu Province, Nov. 27, 2020. (Xinhua/Su Yang)

Statistics show that by the end of 2019, 5,535 museums have been registered nationwide, up 18 percent from 2015. Moreover, museums that are open to the public for free have increased from 85.5 percent to 89.1 percent.

In 2019 alone, museums across the country conducted 28,600 exhibitions, 334,600 educational events and received 1.2 billion visitors, up by 43, 67 and 75 percent respectively when compared with the numbers in 2015. Moreover, 203 museums have been included in the educational base list for middle school and elementary school students.

Wuzhong Museum in Suzhou city in east China’s Jiangsu province has recently held an educational event. During the two-hour event, nearly 300 elementary school students participated in activities such as treasure hunts, commemorative coin making, jigsaw puzzles competition and attending relevant courses. This has allowed young children to learn and experience the local Wu culture.

And this is only one of the many events the museum has launched since it was opened to public in June of this year. Aiming to develop itself into a high-level cultural complex with distinct features, it has launched a large number of events such as the exhibition of culture of the Three Kingdoms (220 to 280 AD), calligraphy and paintings of the Wu School of painting during the Ming dynasty (1368 to 1644 AD) and Qing dynasty (1644 to 1911 AD) as well as becoming a venue that offers courses on craftsmanship and kinds of seminars.

The past five years have also brought about an increasing number of non-state-owned museums, whose share has grown from 23.7 percent to 30.9 percent. Jianchuan Museum Cluster is so far the largest non-state museum project in China. There are 32 pavilions that are part of the museum cluster throughout Dayi county, Chengdu city, the capital of Sichuan province in southwest China. In June 2018, Chongqing Jianchuan Museum in the Chongqing municipality, which borders Sichuan province, was also opened to public. The museum is composed of eight halls, including the old site of the First Armory Factory (Hanyang Arsenal), the Chongqing story hall, and the Chinese “Xi” (a Chinese character implying double happiness often used for wedding occasions) culture hall. Another hall was added in 2019.

“Without the opportunities of the times, how can I build so many museums,” Fan Jianchuan, curator of the Jianchuan Museum Cluster explained. Now the museum has become a national patriotic education base and a humanities and social sciences base in Chongqing, receiving over 1 million visitors every year. 

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