Exhibits Display Ancient Civilization

Visitors to Beijing will be able to enjoy fabulous exhibitions on the world's ancient civilizations in the National Museum of Chinese History, the country's most prestigious history museum pledged on Tuesday, its 90th birthday.

An exhibition on ancient Rome is expected to open next year, and an exhibition on ancient Greece is to open in 2004. Exhibitions on ancient Egypt and India are also to be held within the next five years.

As well as exhibitions on world civilizations, the museum also plans to host a series of exhibitions on the ancient ethnic cultures of China's border areas within the next five years, according to museum curator Zhu Fenghan.

An exhibition of cultural relics from the Liao Dynasty (916-1125) is already being held and will run until October 1. An exhibition on the Silk Road is to be held next spring, and an exhibition is planned on the ancient culture of Southwest China's Yunnan Province.

"The scale and quality of the exhibitions will comply with our status as a national museum," said Zhu.

Founded on July 9, 1912, the National Museum of Chinese History has been a most important organization for the display and collection of Chinese cultural relics and for research into archaeology and Chinese history.

"But, in the late 1990s, the national museum lagged behind some provincial and municipal museums in China concerning the quality of exhibitions, the level of academic research and especially the methods of management," said Zhu.

The museum has been reforming its operations since 2000. It recently introduced a system of making curators responsible for exhibitions. Such a system has been prevalent in developed countries for decades but is new to China.

A free exhibition on the national museum's 90 years is being held July 9-31 to celebrate its birthday. The exhibition features more than 100 photos documenting important moments in Chinese history, and visitors can see dozens of historical documents that have never before been displayed to the public.

Also on display are the most advanced facilities used in archaeological research, said exhibition curator Chen Yu. The museum will also display for the first time more than 20 valuable Chinese cultural relics that it recently collected, added Chen.

( China Daily July 11, 2002)