Overseas visitors will be able to better appreciate the grandeur
of the Palace Museum, or the Forbidden City, next year when foreign
guides speak to them in their own tongue.
The museum announced yesterday that it is seeking 20 expatriates
to volunteer as guides before, during and after the Beijing Olympic Games.
"We are the first public museum in China to try to recruit foreign
volunteers," Duan Yong, director of the museum's foreign affairs
office, told China Daily.
The museum, which was the royal palace during the Ming
(1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, drew 8.77 million
visitors last year, including 1.5 million foreigners.
The expatriate volunteers it is seeking are those whose native
languages are English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Russian,
Spanish or Arabic; and they should have basic Chinese language
Candidates have to be interested in Chinese culture and be able
to volunteer for at least two hours per week; but it is not
necessary that they know much about the Forbidden City, said
After being recruited, volunteers will have part-time training
courses at the Forbidden City for about three months, and start
working in May 2008.
The museum, which started recruiting volunteers in 2004, has 185
Chinese on its roster, including about 20 who can speak
But with the number of foreign visitors to the museum rising
year by year, there is a growing demand for guides who can speak
Asked why it has to be foreigners, Duan explained: "We
think that native speakers can explain things more accurately, and
make foreign visitors feel at home."
Those who are interested can email their passport details and
resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org, and get more information about
voluntary work at the museum's website www.dpm.org.cn/english.
(China Daily December 11, 2007)