China Museum of Telecommunications houses a relics exhibition, demonstrates the latest in science and technology, and is also venue for popular science education. This museum is the first of its kind in the information and telecommunications field.
The exhibition halls are distributed over three floors. The Comprehensive Hall, on the first floor, mainly exhibits achievements in the telecommunications field since reform and opening-up, and its role within the development of society, as well as its exchanges and cooperation with international counterparts.
The Telephone Card Hall -- the card-collector's best choice -- on the same floor, exhibits all manner of magnetic and IC cards that have been collected throughout China, all of which were issued by China Telecom.
The Telecommunications History Hall, with over a thousand tools of telecommunication collected over the past 20 years, contains a comprehensive display of China's telecommunications history and its magnificent achievements made throughout its 3,000 years of history.
At the Ancient Telecommunications Exhibition, one will see the spectacle of the beacon tower, and how, when lit, it was used to send messages, and raise the alarm, thus giving an explanation of its principles, whereby sound and light signals were the means of message transmission. The Posts and Mail Service Exhibition focuses on the transfer of messages in kind, as well as on the modern state postal service, and makes full and accurate use of authentic cultural relics and materials.
In 1837, Morse, an American, invented the first telegraph, a device for transmitting messages through an electric current, which ushered in a new era in telecommunications history. It was 44 years later that this technology spread to China. The museum collection contains several kinds of telegraphs from different periods, as well as a model of a Qing Dynasty telegraph operator using the Morse telegraph.
In the telegraph unit may be seen a set of telephone exchange equipment, introduced by courtesy of the USA West Electrical Equipment Company during the late Qing Dynasty, and installed in the Summer Palace. It was hand operated, and used for internal Qing court connections. It still works.
The numerous ancient telephones in this hall include a typical Western style telephone, but painted yellow, emblematic of China's imperial power, and decorated with dragons. According to textual research, it was manufactured in Norway and presented to the Qing government as a gift.
The Popular Science Hall, on the third floor, is a favorite with young people. In contrast to the historical exhibition on the second floor, it exhibits large-scale mechanical automation facilities, and also smaller models and objects. Through the various projects displayed, a vivid, audio-visual presentation of telecommunications may be observed, and a better understanding of the basic principles of data, microwave, mobile, satellite and optical fiber communications gained. The videophone, and surfing on the Internet, are the means by which the wonders of modern telecommunications technology may be seen with one's own eyes.
Apart from all these exhibitions, there is also a news release hall open to the public, with a seating capacity of 200, equipped with advanced lighting and sound equipment, and attendants on hand to explain and assist.
Address: 42 Xueyuan Road, Haidian District, Beijing (100083). Take bus No. 375, 386, 719, 743, 748, 706, 810 or 944, get off at the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and head south.
Open: 9:00 -- 16:00
Admission: 10 yuan
Tel: 8610-62303621; 8610-62303681
(China.org.cn May 1, 2005)