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China Museum Today: Management and Communication


In August 2015, the Cultural Resource Management (CRM) Program conducted a summer field trip to China. It consisted of various pursuits aiming to study about world heritage management and public archaeologists, specifically in China Case. Concerning its purpose, the museum can be an adequate sample. Through the trip we visited 3 City museums; Shanghai Museum, Shaanxi Museum, and Capital Museum. In my perspective, China’s present museums have better circumstances. They have been maintaining and communicating Chinese cultural heritage properly.


Firstly, the present museums are a result of many years of improvements. Thus, the museum's history is one of the essential points. Specifically, in China’s cases, developments can't be set apart from the people who are running it. As director of the Shanghai Museum, Ma Chengyuan, who was credited for saving the museum during the Cultural Revolution, and raising funds and support for museum's rebuilding. As we can see, besides the state contribution, the museum's directors have considerable roles in China's museum enlargement.


The Second main point of museums in China is its appearance, in another word, their exhibitions and buildings. Though consisting of low-diversity relic collections, China's Museums seem to have high-standard literacy on their permanent exhibitions. They also begin to consider non-material exhibitions such as "the Old Beijing's folk Customs" gallery in Capital Museum. Simultaneously, their temporary exhibitions are creatively arranged. Capital museum collaborated with the Geneva Museum of Art, Switzerland to exhibit the fresh collection of the "Geneva at the Heart of Time – The Origin of Swiss Watchmaking Culture" exhibition. In another case, the Shanghai museum discerningly designed new statement of its old collection through its exhibition theme about Chinese ceramic trade evolution. In terms of their structure, Modern museums such as Capital Museum and Shanghai Museum has been applying new layout concepts which enable visitors to choose or visit specific galleries. The Classic-modern architectural concept seems to have become a mainstream idea of China museums today. However, some institutions like the Shaanxi museum is still keeping its character through recreating Tang dynasty architectural style in its main construction.


Third, the way museums inform and approach the public is essential for the communication aspect. The collections were displayed in perfect and luxurious circumstances, but sometimes they're not positioned in a suitable direction, thus they couldn't show the special important parts. In fact, I still found a mono - language caption, but China's museums also uses figures and pictures for showing particular subject. The guidance staffs explain fluently and credibly, but susceptible embed with a certain subjective point of views. In terms of public attractions, Museums make considerable developing features in the multimedia and technology field. Additionally, it also provides a space for leisure and creative activities.


To conclude, the Shanghai museum, Shaanxi Museum, and the Capital museum can comply as first class museums. Though each museum has its own specific concept or idea to show to the public, they fulfill each other as one unified cultural institution of China that preserves Chinese culture and its histories. Moreover, it can be sampled cases for historical museum institutions in some degree, particularly associated with Cultural resource management studies(Tia)