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