Beijing Forbidden City with its exceptional treasures wants to redefine the visitor’s experience by turning the museum into one of the best in the world – on pair with the Louvre in Paris or the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
BEIJING- Shan Jixiang is the curator of Beijing’s top attraction, the Palace Museum, known as the imperial Forbidden City. Every year, the cultural institution attracts over 14 million visitors. A proud figure, especially when compared with the millions of visitors who strolled through the former residence of Chinese Emperors back to the year 1949. Since opening its doors that year, statistics show that Beijing’s Palace Museum has seen more than 312 million people. “Its attraction is closely related to its abundant collections,” explained the curator.
The Beijing Palace Museum has catalogued its entire collection of 1,807,558 pieces of cultural relics, the museum’s curator said. After over seven years of efforts, the museum has listed all of the relics in its archives, including about 53,000 paintings, 75,000 calligraphy works, 16,000 pieces of copperware and 10,000 sculptures. The catalogue is due to be publicized.
Talking recently at a press conference, the curator and his colleagues are striving to turn the site into one of the world’s top museums through an improved blueprint. Shan Jixiang said during the media briefing that once the changes fully implemented, the Palace Museum will be positioned alongside Paris’ Louvre Museum, New York’s Metropolitan Museum, St Petersburg’s State Hermitage and the British Museum as one of the top five museums in the world.
The Palace Museum will feature a new display layout and arrange permanent exhibitions on unique objects including bronze, jade, lacquer and imperial items, Shan explained. “We are also planning to set up a museum for foreign cultural relics, and will develop digital technology covering most parts of the Forbidden City,” Shan added, without specifying a time scheme for any of these developments.
The Palace Museum, located in the heart of Beijing, was built in 1420 and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. It was home to China’s emperors and the highest centre of power for about 500 years.
Luc Citrinot a French national is a freelance journalist and consultant in tourism and air transport with over 20 years experience. Based in Paris and Bangkok, he works for various travel and air transport trade publications in Europe and Asia.