Chinese people trace history in museums

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With a rich cultural heritage, central China's Henan Province is one of the birthplaces of Chinese civilization. During this year's May Day holiday, Henan Museum, located in the province's capital city of Zhengzhou, welcomed over 70,000 visitors.

Yu Ru was one of them. She traveled all the way from Beijing to learn more about the ancient history of the central plain area.

"The museum is like a sand table of history, it presents the development of the city's civilization through cultural relics," she said.

In recent years, there has been a growing appreciation of fine traditional culture among Chinese people, with museum visits increasing in popularity.

By 2021, China was home to 6,183 museums that had been registered with authorities, and with 90 percent of them offering free admission, according to the National Cultural Heritage Administration.

"Visiting museums can help us better understand traditional culture, enhance cultural confidence and gain insight into the future," said An Laishun, vice president of the Chinese Museum Association.

With the rise of modern technology, more high-tech methods have been used to present treasured relics, providing easier access and better experiences to museum lovers.

Fahai Temple was first built in 1439 in Beijing, and is noted for its frescoes. Although the murals are still shining after nearly 600 years, those who want a clearer picture of their original magnificence might not feel satisfied.

By applying digital technology to cultural relics, an immersive digital art gallery was held earlier this year. At the exhibition of Fahai Temple Mural Art Center, the original scale of mural paintings was presented with a 4K HD display. Each one of the 77 figures was portrayed with immaculate attention to detail by 3D modeling of pixel-level.

The facial details of Water-moon Avalokitesvara, one of the most representative figures on the frescoes of Fahai Temple, are hard to make out in dim conditions. However, after 3D modeling, the over 3-meter-high figure's face can be seen clearly on the 4K HD screen at the Mural Hall in the basement of the art center.

China has proposed to promote the free opening and digitalization of public cultural venues and develop online digital experience products and new cultural tourism services such as immersive tours, virtual exhibitions and high-definition live broadcasts during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025).

Apart from attracting people to visit exhibitions, museums in China have also explored social education activities through various means to create "mobile museums."

With the help of livestreaming platforms, a museum in Beijing held a lively online course last month for primary school students in Qinghe County in north China's Hebei Province, which is located more than 360 kilometers from Beijing.

Children in rural areas rarely have the opportunity to visit museums, and we hope to provide more resources to them through online courses, said Li Jing from the eastern suburbs exhibition hall of China Railway Museum.

According to data from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, museums nationwide held 36,000 exhibitions and more than 320,000 education activities in 2021.

"Museums should share its historical and cultural resources with society, and work together with schools and communities so that people can learn more about history and enhance their cultural identity," said An. 

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