Sci­ence mu­seum ren­o­vated at old site, dome and all

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By LIANG SHUANG and CAO YIN Con­tact the writ­ers at liang­shuang@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Af­ter ly­ing dor­mant for seven years, the iconic orig­i­nal venue of the China Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy Mu­seum in Bei­jing’s Chaoyang dis­trict has be­gun a meta­mor­pho­sis. When work is com­pleted, the clas­sic site will en­ter the spot­light once more as a place for plant­ing dreams in anew­gen­er­a­tion of young sci­en­tists.

In 2009, a new mu­seum build­ing was com­pleted 5 kilo­me­ters to the north, and orig­i­nal site was shut­tered. But nos­tal­gia for the old mu­seum, with its dis­tinc­tive domethe­ater, re­mains strong.

“I went there al­most ev­ery week­end in my el­e­men­tary school years,” said Li Shuang, who now works in fi­nance. “I was re­ally fas­ci­nated by the ex­hibits. Many kids lined up for the Van de Graaff gen­er­a­tor, where your hair stood up when you touched the static elec­tric­ity sphere.”

Opened in 1988, the mu­se­umhad been a fa­vorite of res­i­dents, es­pe­cially teenagers. Af­ter the round the­ater opened in 1995 and the mu­seum was ex­panded in 1990, its eye-catch­ing shape be­came a well-known land­mark in Bei­jing.

For its time, the mu­seum was the most ad­vanced in China, giv­ing vis­i­tors a jaw­drop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence.

“It didn’t pale by com­par­i­son with even Dis­ney­land or Uni­ver­sal Stu­dios,” said Cai Heng, a Bei­jing en­tre­pre­neur.

Now, the shell of the old mu­seum’s dome is be­ing removed, and scaf­folds have been set up around the com­pound for other re­con­struc­tion work.

Af­ter a seven-year rest, the venue is about to get a new start — a ren­o­va­tion that builders say will trans­form it into an exciting a new­science com­pound.

The dome the­ater will be re­built based on the orig­i­nal look, but with mod­ern construction ma­te­ri­als to re­place the rusty old struc­ture.

When com­pleted, the fa­cil­ity will be called the Bei­jing Sci­ence Cen­ter. Pre­lim­i­nary plans fea­ture per­ma­nent ex­hibits in the life sciences, na­ture and en­vi­ron­ment, and new tech­nolo­gies for daily life. It will also have in­de­pen­dent ed­u­ca­tional zones for stu­dents and young chil­dren — and, of course, the dome the­ater, which is sched­uled to open by mid-2017.

YUAN MUHAN / FOR CHINA DAILY

Top: Work pro­ceeded to dis­man­tle the mu­seum’s old dome on July 4. Bot­tom: The struc­ture was CHENG GONG / FOR CHINA DAILY re­duced to a skele­ton as of Fri­day.

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