Featured museums in China get the spotlight

By Qiao Dong, People’s Daily
China’s museums have thrived in recent years, with the number of registered museums reaching 5,354 by the end of 2018. Featured museums, which may be niche and vary in the content of exhibition and size, can play an equally important role as the comprehensive museums in the country’s museum system.
Shanxi Bronze Museum in Taiyuan, capital city of north China’s Shanxi province, is the country’s first bronze-themed museum at provincial level.
Located on a small island in Taiyuan’s Changfeng Culture and Business District, it is installed in an architectural complex within the five marvelous red inverted-cone shaped buildings of the Taiyuan Museum. Glittering in the summer night, it adds radiance to the urban landscape.
“Shanxi Bronze Museum coincides with the idea of ‘vertical subdivision’, as this museum is especially for bronzeware. It houses a huge number of cultural relics, with 2,000 items on display,” introduced Zhao Zhiming, deputy curator of Shanxi Museum.
The items come in a complete chronological order, and are complete in range. Some show the mainstream characteristics of bronzeware, while others reflect local features, Zhao added.
He also noted that the scientific, historic and artistic value of China’s bronzeware is a precious cultural heritage, which can help boost Chinese people’s confidence in their culture.
The museum has some of the greatest cultural relics exhibited in different halls. For example, Bronze Dragon-Shaped Gong, dating back to the late Shang Dynasty (1600 BC-1046 BC), is the most valuable one in the museum. A Plate of Duke Wen of Jin (Jingong pan) is known for its beautiful pattern and delicate craftsmanship.
The details of these cultural relics, such as the pattern, carving, the changes in the color, and the inscriptions on these items, epitomize the ancient culture and the foundry techniques.
“A featured museum should delve deeper into its specialty,” said Zhang Jingjing, curator of Shanxi Bronze Museum.
Shanxi Bronze Museum, as a branch of Shanxi Museum, is an achievement of refined development of museum. Going forward, the museum should make more efforts to study and protect its cultural relics, and increase its influence in the industry, according to the curator.
She also added that the museum co-founded a Chinese bronzeware protection and study center, together with Peking University and Shanxi University, in an attempt to study the connotations behind the cultural relics.
Besides, featured museums are also developing new ways of exhibition planning and promotion, in a bid to promote their image.
“We are striving to bring these items to the public closer, so that these cultural relics will not seem strange to the public. The bronzeware, which might seem old-fashioned at the first glance, can be fashionable,” said Zhang Jingjing.
The museum has launched a series of events, such as temporary exhibition in shopping malls, to attract more audience. In addition, it also organized educational events to cultivate the younger generation’s interests in the bronzeware.
Since its opening in July 2019, the museum has received over 213,000 visitors.

Children enjoy themselves in the educational events organized by Shanxi Bronze Museum. File photo

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