Knowing China through Taiwan

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Museum boom in China leaves too few artifacts to go around

  • Staff Reporter
  • 2013-06-11
  • 10:24 (GMT+8)
Fudan University professor Gao Menghe. (Internet photo)

Fudan University professor Gao Menghe. (Internet photo)

China's museum mayhem has left the country dotted with spartan exhibitions and insufficient budgets, reports our sister newspaper Want Daily.

As of the end of 2012, 3,589 museums were showcasing their artifacts, or lack thereof, in China. In 2010, a total of 395 new museums were built, according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency. The country is planning to continue construction of museums, hoping to pop one out in any "city with more than 250,000 people" by 2020.

Anhui Provincial Museum, for instance, has been open for two years. The museum has more than 200,000 pieces in storage but only 2,000 pieces can be displayed at a time, due to space restrictions.

"These museums are big and cost more than 100 million yuan (US$16.3 million) to build. If the interior design does not meet the requirements for exhibitions, it is a ridiculous waste," said Lu Qiansong, a professor with the Relic and Museum Department of Shanghai's Fudan University.

Most museums have insufficient budgets to maintain operations. Many county museums do not have any budget at all.

Gao Mengho, Lu's colleague, said that the authorities should have slowed down their plans to build museums.

"There were about 3,000 museums in Japan when it was at its peak, but now only 30% of them remain operation," Gao said. "Whenever we build a new museum, we need to make sure we are capable of keeping it functional."



Lu Qiansong  陸建松

Gao Mengho  高蒙河

Who's Who

  • Gao Hucheng (高虎城)

    Gao Hucheng (高虎城)

    Gao Hucheng became China's minister of commerce in 2013. A native of Shuozhou in Shanxi province, he was born in 1951 and joined the Communist Party ...