National Natural History Museum unveiled

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The National Natural History Museum is unveiled in Beijing on Monday. [Photo/VCG]

The new site of the National Natural History Museum was unveiled in Beijing on Monday.

"Formerly known as the Beijing Museum of Natural History, its inauguration marks a new page in the country's development of the natural history museum sector," Meng Qingjin, director of the National Natural History Museum, said at the plaque-revealing ceremony.

A popular attraction exploring life on Earth, the current 23,000-square-meter museum receives 1.8 million visits every year, according to the museum.

The new location, along the south of Beijing's central axis, covers 57,700 sq m.

Without revealing when it will open to the public, Yu Yingjie, a vice-mayor of Beijing, believes the new venue will become a landmark along the central axis.

With a collection of more than 372,000 historical and current artifacts and a history of more than 70 years, the facility will expand its collection, actively play an increasingly important role in scientific research, develop diversified learning programs and deepen international communication, according to Meng.

In her video message to the event, Emma Nardi, president of the International Council of Museums, said museums play a key role in promoting the harmonious relationship between nature and humans, and inspire the public to embrace long-term sustainability and protect the environment for future generations.

"We are delighted to observe the growth and endorsement of new establishments in the vibrant city of Beijing, signifying the recognition of cultural institutions as beacons of hope for sustainable development and well-being," she said.

To mark the inauguration, the exhibition Curator's Choice Collections — Preserving the Past for the Future was opened at the museum on Monday. The monthlong exhibition tells the history of the museum over the past seven decades.

In March 1951, the ministry of culture and the Chinese Academy of Sciences established a preparatory committee to build the museum and in January 1959 it was opened to the public. In 1962, it was named Beijing Museum of Natural History, and in January this year it was renamed the National Museum of Natural History.

At the ceremony, a public contest for the museum's logo design was launched. Running through Aug 4, the winner will win a prize of 50,000 yuan ($7,000).

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