Palace Mu­seum be­gins build­ing branch in north­west­ern Bei­jing

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By WANG KAIHAO wangkai­hao@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Af­ter years of prepa­ra­tion, con­struc­tion of a branch of the Palace Mu­seum for­mally kicked off on Wed­nes­day in Bei­jing’s north­west­ern out­skirts.

The branch, cov­er­ing 62 hectares in the north of Haid­ian district, will serve as satel­lite in­sti­tu­tion of the com­plex that was China’s im­pe­rial palace from 1420 to 1911, also known as the For­bid­den City.

The branch will in­clude 35,000 square me­ters of ex­hi­bi­tion space, a con­ser­va­tion cen­ter for cul­tural relics of 20,000 sq m and a ware­house of 23,000 sq m, ac­cord­ing to Shan Jix­i­ang, di­rec­tor of the Palace Mu­seum.

Plans call for it to fully open in June 2022, but the con­ser­va­tion cen­ter may be ready for vis­its by the pub­lic in 2020, when 600th birth­day of the For­bid­den City falls, Shan said.

“Hav­ing such an in­sti­tu­tion will im­prove our ser­vice and ex­pand our room to dis­play our col­lec­tions,” he said.

The lack of suf­fi­cient ex­hi­bi­tion space has been a lin­ger­ing prob­lem for the mu­seum, which houses about 1.86 mil­lion cul­tural relics.

The need to pro­vide a safe and se­cure en­vi­ron­ment for ar­ti­facts ex­hib­ited in the an­cient build­ings has meant that only 2 per­cent of the mu­seum’s trea­sures can be si­mul­ta­ne­ously dis­played to the pub­lic.

“Our col­lec­tions of large items, like the huge num­ber of tapestries and sedan chairs, par­tic­u­larly need ex­hi­bi­tion spa­ces,” Shan said. “It’s cur­rently im­pos­si­ble to dis­play them in the For­bid­den City, but the new mu­seum will of­fer good con­di­tions to put them on dis­play.”

The di­rec­tor said the new mu­seum will also be­come a hub for study­ing the hor­ti­cul­ture of the im­pe­rial age. Plants grown there will be taken to the For­bid­den City in down­town Bei­jing for dis­play.

“Some­times, it’s dif­fi­cult to breed some plants down­town be­cause of the ur­ban heat,” he said. “It’s bet­ter to do so in the out­skirts.”

ZOU HONG / CHINA DAILY PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Top: A com­puter-gen­er­ated graphic shows the de­sign of the Palace Mu­seum branch. Above: Shan Jix­i­ang, the mu­seum’s di­rec­tor, briefs re­porters on the branch’s con­struc­tion.

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