China lauds progress on Intl Museum Day

An aerial drone photo taken on May 18, 2024 shows the Qin Han Museum of the Shaanxi History Museum in Xi'an, capital of

northwest China's Shaanxi Province. A new museum that focuses on ancient Chinese civilization in the Qin Dynasty (221 BC-207 BC) and Han Dynasty (202 BC-AD 220) officially opened to the public on Saturday in Shaanxi Province. (Xinhua/Li Yibo)

China opened 268 new museums across the country in the past year, creating a total of 6,833 registered museums nationwide, the National Cultural Heritage Administration announced on Saturday, International Museum Day.

In the past year, more than 40,000 exhibitions and 380,000 educational activities in Chinese museums attracted 1.29 billion visits, surpassing the number for 2019 — 1.23 billion — before the COVID-19 pandemic, said Li Qun, director of the National Cultural Heritage Administration.

"The museum craze is still gaining momentum. With blockbuster exhibitions, educational activities and exquisite cultural and creative products emerging one after another, museums have become an indispensable part of people's need for a better life in the new era," said Li, adding that during the Labor Day holiday from May 1 to 5, museums in China attracted more than 50 million visits.

The nation's main celebration this year was held at the Shaanxi History Museum Qin-Han Hall in Xixian New Area, Shaanxi province.

The hall was officially opened to the public on Saturday after operating on a trial basis for several months. As a new branch of the Shaanxi History Museum, it is dedicated to the civilizations of the Qin (221-206 BC) and Han (206 BC-AD 220) dynasties, a key period during which a united Chinese nation was formed.

International Museum Day has been held on May 18 every year since 1977. China has organized activities on this day since 1983, after it joined the International Council of Museums.

This year's International Museum Day was themed around research and education.

"It is related to some United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In particular, Goal 4: Quality Education, and Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure," said ICOM President Emma Nardi.

"In China, with all the blossoming activities that you are organizing, the relationship between museums, educational institutions like schools and universities and local communities will be strengthened," she said.

In Beijing, a museum month activity began on Saturday, with four themed series activities being promoted over the following four weeks.

The first week highlights a wide range of exhibitions, with over 10,000 free tickets to museums being offered to the public every day. Subsequent weeks will spotlight cultural and creative products, films and books.