The National Museum of China (NMC) is China's supreme establishment that collects, researches, displays and interprets China's fine traditional culture, revolutionary culture and advanced socialist culture. NMC is the top palace of history and art and a cultural parlor for China. Led by General Secretary Xi Jinping, all members of the Standing Committee of the 18th CPC Central Committee Political Bureau visited NMC’s permanent exhibition “The Road of Rejuvenation” on November 29, 2012. During that visit, General Secretary Xi Jinping called for realizing the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, ushering in the new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics. On November 13, 2018, the comrades of the CPC Central Committee led by General Secretary Xi Jinping visited the “Great Reform: A Major Exhibition Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Reform and Opening-up” at the NMC. General Secretary Xi said that the exhibition should serve educational and guiding purposes to make the officials and masses realize the CPC, the Chinese people and the socialism with Chinese characteristics have immense strength, and gain a deeper understanding that the CPC theory, the lines and policies determined by the CPC Central Committee and the series of strategic arrangements for reform and opening-up are correct, that the reform and opening-up and socialist modernization drive point to bright prospects, and that we should work with one mind, build consensus, raise our morale, get united, and firm up our confidence and determination to follow the CPC on the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the path of reform and opening-up.
The history of the NMC can be traced back to 1912 when the Preparatory Office of the National Museum of History was founded. According to the decision of the CPC Central Committee, the NMC was founded in 2003, merging from the National Museum of Chinese History and the National Museum of Chinese Revolution. The renovation and expansion of the Museum was started in 2007 and completed in March 2011, when the Museum began to reopen to the public. The new building keeps the western, northern and southern facades of the old building. Covering a land area of 70,000 square meters, the new building stands 42.5 meters high, consisting of five stories above the ground and two stories underground; with a total of 48 galleries, the renovated museum has a floor space of nearly 200,000 square meters. In terms of the floor space it is the largest single-building museum in the world.
The NMC houses more than 1.4 million items of collection, covering ancient and modern artifacts, rare and antiquarian books, and works of art. Specifically, it collects 815,000 pieces/sets of ancient cultural heritage, 340,000 pieces/sets of modern cultural heritage, more than 240,000 rare and antiquarian books. Notably, its collection includes nearly 6,000 Grade One cultural relics. Over recent years and especially after the 19th National Congress of the CPC, the NMC has stepped up efforts to collect representative material evidence reflecting revolutionary culture and contemporary advanced culture of China. Annually it collects 50 pieces/sets of ancient cultural heritage and more than 1,000 sets of modern cultural heritage and artwork.
The NMC holds permanent, special and temporary exhibitions which combine to form a multi-dimensional exhibition system. Specifically, its permanent exhibitions include “Ancient China”, “The Road of Rejuvenation” and “The Road of Rejuvenation: New Era”, which makes the MMC an important base to promote the excellent traditional culture, revolutionary culture and advanced socialist culture of China, and to foster and implement the core socialist values. The ten-plus special exhibitions that mainly feature the NMC collection display Chinese ancient bronze ware, Buddhist statues, jade ware, porcelain, national gifts, modern classical works of fine arts and African wood carving. In addition, on an annual basis the NMC holds 40-plus temporary exhibitions which include those curated by the Museum itself and the exchange exhibitions from outside, covering history and culture, selected artifacts, archaeological discovery, modern masterpieces of fine arts, culture of specific regions, and international communication. In 2018 the NMC received a record high of as many as over 8.61 million visitors, which made it rank among the most popular museums in the world. In particular, during the “Great Reform: A Major Exhibition Celebrating the 40 Anniversary of Reform and Opening-up”, the NMC registered more than 4.23 million visits. This exhibition that gives a concentrated demonstration of the miracle China has performed and the immense changes the country has undergone over the past four decades has not only become the focus of attention of domestic and international media, but also created many records in the exhibition arrangement, number of visits and vistors’ response to the exhibition. It has thus become a new benchmark for large-scale exhibitions.
The NMC, boasting rich research resources, a solid research foundation and a strong contingent of research personnel, leads the development of the domestic museological community.
Since 2018 the NMC implements in a deep-going way the major decisions and arrangements of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core, deepens reform across the board, forges ahead to break new ground, and upholds the principle of stressing the exhibition rather than the collection for mutual benefit and win-win cooperation to build ties of strategic cooperation with museums, research institutes and higher education institutions in and beyond China to conduct joint academic researches, hold selected cultural heritage exhibitions, convene seminars, launch pos-doctoral research programs, and lead the efforts to build the BRICS Alliance of Museums and International Alliance of Museums of the Silk Road. It endeavors to play a greater role in promoting core socialist values, enhancing cultural confidence of Chinese people, boosting communication and mutual learning among Chinese and foreign civilizations and building a socialist cultural power.