A visit to PalaceMu­seum will soon be a walk in the park

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE - By SUN YUAN­QING sun­yuan­qing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The Palace Mu­seum, also known as the For­bid­den City, is plan­ning to set up new ser­vice ar­eas to re­duce the overwhelming crowds in the Im­pe­rial Gar­den, mu­seum di­rec­tor Shan Jix­i­ang said onWed­nes­day.

An elab­o­rate clas­sic Chi­nese gar­den, the Im­pe­rial Gar­den is the last stop on the itin­er­ary of the mu­seum and is one of the most cramped ar­eas. It is cur­rently oc­cu­pied by sev­eral food and bev­er­age stores. The place is­more­likea­diningan­drest­ing area than a clas­sic gar­den at the­mo­ment, Shan says.

New ser­vice cen­ters will be set up on each side of the Palace of Earthly Tran­quil­ity, which is near the Im­pe­rial Gar­den. The newser­vice cen­ters will have food and drink sup­plies, Wi-Fi and tele­vi­sions.

“We want to pro­vide an en­vi­ron­ment where vis­i­tors no longer have to squat in the court­yard but take their breaks with dig­nity,” Shan says.

The food stores in the Im­pe­rial Gar­den will be re­placed by sou­venir shops that sell books and cul­ture prod­ucts re­lated to the PalaceMu­seum, Shan says.

The steel bars that sur­round the an­cient trees in the gar­den will be re­moved to make more room for the vis­i­tors. The soil around the trees will be cov­ered with anti-cor­ro­sion planks to di­vert the vis­i­tors from the stone-paved road. Del­i­cately paved with stones of more than 900 pat­terns, the road is a pre­cious her­itage from the past but has been partly dam­aged be­cause of over­ca­pac­ity.

“The in­ten­tion is to make it more like a clas­sic gar­den as it once was, rather than a pub­lic gar­den,” Shan says. Shan also calls on vis­i­tors to stop throw­ing bank notes and coins into the pond in the gar­den to wish for bless­ings, as the ac­tion pol­lutes the wa­ter.

Mean­while, the mu­seum had a sec­ond con­sul­ta­tion meet­ing to re­vise its plans to re­duce thenum­ber of vis­i­tors dur­ing peak sea­son and in­crease the fig­ures in low sea­son.

The im­pe­rial palace for the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dy­nas­ties, the PalaceMu­seum is the world’s largest ex­ist­ing com­plex of an­cient wooden build­ings. It re­ceived more than 14 mil­lion people in 2013, mak­ing it the most vis­ited mu­seum in the world.

The mu­seum is con­sid­er­ing is­su­ing an­nual tick­ets to reg­u­lar vis­i­tors. It is also plan­ningo­niden­ti­fy­ing two days in the off-peak sea­son ev­ery year when vis­i­tors can book free tick­ets on­line.

To­di­vert vis­i­tors­fro­ma­ll­comin­gin the morn­ing, the mu­seum is con­sid­er­ing­pro­mot­ingtick­et­sat­dis­counted prices af­ter 2pm. The­mu­se­u­mis also pro­motin­gonline­book­ing­tolimit­the num­ber of vis­i­tors each day.

Li Lian, a vol­un­teer who has been work­ing in the mu­seum for 10 years, sug­gests that the­mu­se­umshould­sell tick­ets in dif­fer­ent venues of the palace to re­duce the over­all con­ges­tion.

“Peo­ple­come­for dif­fer­ent pur­poses. For those who are only in­ter­ested in the palaces, they can buy the tick­ets to the palaces. And for those who want to see the ex­hi­bi­tions, they don’t have to pay for the palaces,” Li says.

Ni Yuanchen, 9, plays the cello in the first round of the au­di­tions held at Di­tan Pri­mary School in Bei­jing on March 16.

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