Palace Museum kicks off new branch construction for larger-scale relics' exhibition in Beijing
Published: Dec 31, 2022 11:53 AM
The Palace Museum's new branch construction project mobilization meeting is held in Beijing on December 30, 2022. Photo: Courtesy of the Palace Museum

The Palace Museum's new branch construction project mobilization meeting is held in Beijing on December 30, 2022. Photo: Courtesy of the Palace Museum

With four yellow excavators and four green trucks clad in red silk, two resident representatives of nearby communities and relevant officials together to gig out the foundation soil, after years of preparation, the construction of a new branch of the Palace Museum, China's largest museum for relics' exhibition, formally kicked off on Friday in Beijing.

Covering relics' exhibition, repair and storage, the new branch of the Palace Museum located in the northern part of Beijing' s Haidian District, was backed with an investment of 2.1 billion yuan ($300 million), with a total construction area of more than 100,000 square meters. 

As a major cultural facility planned for the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25), relevant departments involved in the construction plan expect that in the future, the new branch will complement the strengths of the Palace Museum, extending and strengthening the museum's cultural heritage conservation and dissemination functions and providing stronger support for the scientific conservation and effective display of the Forbidden City's cultural relics.

Hu Heping, Minister of Culture and Tourism said at the project construction mobilization meeting that the Palace Museum is a world-renowned cultural heritage site, an internationally renowned museum, and a well-known tourism destination at home and abroad.

The completion of the new branch of the Palace Museum will help the space evacuation, restoration and protection of the ancient architectural space of the Forbidden City, effectively alleviate the issues of scientific protection, display and utilization of large-scale precious cultural relics, also provide new development space for the Palace Museum, facilitate Beijing to become a "City of Museums" and the national cultural center, driving the local economic and social development, Hu said.

The Global Times learned that the Palace Museum's new branch will be built as a mega comprehensive museum, whose main functions are the display, restoration, preservation and research of cultural relics, audience services, administrative offices and corresponding supporting facilities. Of the more than 100,000 square meters total area, 60,239.9 square meters are used for cultural relics display and 35,106.8 square meters are used for cultural relics restoration

According to Wang Xudong, director of the Palace Museum, the initial plan for the project was launched in 2013. It took nearly ten years to prepare for the project after soliciting design proposals, receiving approval for project feasibility study, obtaining relevant approvals from relevant authorities, implementing project initiation, and carrying out construction unit tendering.

Wang said in a previous interview with the Global Times that he hopes the Palace Museum will be open to the public in 2025, the centennial year of the museum's founding, and further meet the public's different needs for education, appreciation, display and communication in the near future.

The Palace Museum will soon issue an overall development plan for the new branch construction, and coordinate the relationship between the Palace Museum and the new exhibition branch to completely protect and responsibly carry forward the fine traditional Chinese culture carried by the Palace Museum, and at the same time to promote exchange and mutual learning between civilizations, Wang said.