Published: 14:07, May 21, 2024
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Event launched to help create 'City of Museums'
By Deng Zhangyu
Students visit the Grand Canal Museum on the 48th International Museum Day on May 18, 2024, as the Beijing Museum Month kicks off. (JIANG DONG / CHINA DAILY)

Over 100 Beijing museums will host more than 1,000 exhibitions online and on-site to enhance infotainment and celebrate the recently launched Beijing Museum Month.

Free and non-reservation tickets will be available to residents and college students, according to organizers of the program that kicked off on Saturday, which marked the 48th International Museum Day.

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The launch was held at the Grand Canal Museum. This year's theme for International Museum Day is "Museums for Education and Research". In line with this theme, the slogan for the 2024 Beijing Museum Month is "City of Museums — Making Learning More Enjoyable".

During the museum month, visitors can amble through weekend markets featuring cultural and creative products at museums, enjoy outdoor movies, and immerse themselves in the literary charm of newly established reading areas within museums.

"We're making efforts to help Beijing create the cultural landmark of 'City of Museums' and to integrate the museum into everyday life," says Yu Jun, deputy chairman of the Standing Committee of Beijing Municipal People's Congress.

Beijing boasts 186 registered museums and an additional 27 cultural institutions housing significant collections. They are categorized in seven areas, including history and cultural art, natural sciences and technology, revolutionary memorials and archaeological sites.

In 2020, the capital came up with the idea to build up a "City of Museums". And the rich museum sources in Beijing have captured crowds of visitors flocking into the city.

During the May Day holiday, museums in Beijing held about 109 exhibitions and other activities, attracting more than 2 million visitors, an increase of approximately 30 percent year-on-year, setting a historical record. Many museums offered extended hours, according to data from the National Cultural Heritage Administration.

At the launch ceremony on Saturday, another 10 museums in Beijing were added to the country's list of "national first-grade museums", the highest classification for museums in China, as determined by the National Cultural Heritage Administration. They include the Overseas Chinese History Museum of China, the China Railway Museum and the National Museum of Modern Chinese Literature. With these additions, Beijing now boasts 28 national first-grade museums, solidifying its position as the leading city in the country.

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To give visitors a clear picture of what each museum has to offer among the vast plethora in Beijing, The Beijing Museum Guide and a map were also released at the ceremony.

Chen Mingjie, head of the Beijing Municipal Cultural Heritage Bureau, says integration of museums and the city is their ongoing goal.

"We aim to create a closer fusion between museums and the city, as well as a deeper integration with people's daily lives. Students can attend classes in museums, and museums can 'enter' communities and stations, allowing everyone to experience the atmosphere of a 'City of Museums' anytime and anywhere. Ultimately, we strive to transform Beijing into a 'living museum city' in its entirety," says Chen.