Free access to public museums is both necessary and feasible in
China, says a commentary of Beijing Youth Daily. An
Museums around the country offered free tours to visitors last
Friday as part of International Museum Day. The public responded
warmly and swarmed into the museums.
As interest grows in museums of all kinds, people are no longer
content with once-a-year free access on International Museum
As a product of economic, cultural and social development,
public museums should offer their services to the public without
profit. Free access to public museums should be offered to all.
The museums are meant to collect, preserve and study the items
of high value in history, art or culture, relaying their value to
the public through display.
Free entrance to public museums has become a wide practice for
museums around the world to give full play to museum functions.
The top museums in Britain, including the British Museum, the
National Gallery and the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, have all
been free to visit since the year 2000. The British government set
up a special fund to subsidize the museums and State aid is also
given to these institutes.
The provincial museum based in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, and
the China Silk Museum in the same city announced their permanent
free access to the public three years ago. The government of
Shenzhen in Guangdong Province has also decided to grant free
access to seven public facilities starting in February.
The practices in the two cities are solid proof that free access
to museums is feasible when the State or local government has
enough financial strength.
(China Daily May 22, 2007)