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Grand exhibition marks centennial of China's National Museum

07-12-2012 09:27 BJT

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The National Museum of China is celebrating its 100th birthday with a grand exhibition chronicling the museum’s century-long journey. With goals of becoming one of the greatest museums in the world, the National Museum of China has been engaging in protecting and promoting Chinese art and culture ever since it’s founding.

The idea of establishing a National Museum began in the middle of 19th century. Facing uncertain future, Chinese scholars like Cai Yuanpei and Lu Xun took it upon themselves to save China’s ancient treasures. On July 9th, 1912, the Preparatory Office of National History Museum was set up, marking the beginning of what would be a tumultuous journey.

Wars kept the museum on the go. In order to escape the Japanese invasion, the museum moved from Beijing to Nanjing in 1931 and from Nanjing to Chongqing in 1937. It saved the most precious national treasures from being looted or ruined.

To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the founding of new China, the History Museum of China and Revolution Museum of China were built right in the heart of Beijing, beside Tiananmen Square. At the end of 2010, wide scale renovations were completed and the two museums joined together to become known as the National Museum of China.

The new museum houses more than 1.2 million artifacts in its 48 exhibiting halls. The museum’s curator Lv Zhangshen says, the National Museum has goals of being the window that showcases Chinese culture and its growing soft power.

Lu Zhangshen, Curator of National Museum of China, said, "We want to build a museum with unique Chinese characters, demonstrating the richness of Chinese history. So our goal is to be a leader in China and in the world. It is relatively easy to be outstanding in the country, with its largest exhibiting space and over 1.2 million exhibits. But to be outstanding in the world, there’s still a long way to go."

It is true that compared to western museums that have a history of three or four hundred years, Chinese museums are relatively young. However, with a wealth of culture and history and archaeological finds, China owns the most enviable resources that could make great museums.

Julian Raby, Director of Freer and Sackler Galleries, said, "It’s possible for you telling much richer stories, but in America, without coherent picture."

Doctor Julian Raby came to join the forum of the centennial of the National Museum of China. As the director of Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery which are part of the Smithsonian Institute in America, Doctor Raby is looking forward to more collaboration between the two countries.

Julian Raby, Director of Freer and Sackler Galleries, said, "To increase the number of research exchanges, increase the number of professional exchanges, and increase exhibition exchanges. Because I think there’s much we can learn from each other."

Recently, an exhibition featuring the Renaissance has been held at the National Museum of China and is receiving a warm welcome. The visiting exhibition is part of the cultural exchange that the National Museum of China is engaging in.

Chen Lusheng, Deputy Curator of National Museum of China, said, "Ever since the launching of the new National Museum of China, curators from the best-known museums in the world have visited us and discussed cooperation. On one hand, we invite overseas exhibitions to let us know more about the world; on the other, we inform the world about Chinese arts and culture by hosting exhibitions overseas."

The National Museum of China has a tough job to fill. As curator Lv Zhangshen says, in order to be outstanding in the world, there’s still a long way to go.

Editor:Wang Chuhan |Source: CNTV.CN

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