Welcome to the National Museum of China (NMC).
Compared to the ancestral temple of Chinese culture, the NMC is the supreme palace of history and art in China displaying China’s excellent traditional culture, revolutionary culture and advanced socialist culture. It houses more than 1.4 million objects as the embodiment and witness of China’s 5,000-year brilliant civilization. It is also the place where a new era begins of socialism with Chinese characteristics: on 29 November 2012, led by General Secretary Xi Jinping, all members of the Standing Committee of the 18th CPC Central Committee Political Bureau visited the NMC’s permanent exhibition The Road of Rejuvenation. During that visit, Xi Jinping called for realizing the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
The history of the NMC can be traced back to 1912 when the Preparatory Office of the National Museum of History was founded. After the development of more than 100 years, the NMC has achieved profound historical and cultural significance, and has become an important platform for collecting, protecting and displaying cultural heritage, public education, research as well as international cultural exchanges. The NMC was formally established in 2003 after the merging of the National Museum of Chinese History and the National Museum of Chinese Revolution. With 48 galleries occupying a floor area of nearly 200,000 square metres, the NMC is the largest single-building museum in the world. As home to three permanent exhibitions - Ancient China, The Road of Rejuvenation, and The Road of Rejuvenation: New Era - and a dozen of thematic exhibitions on bronzes, Buddhist sculpture, coins, porcelain, stone carvings, revolutionary objects, and modern and contemporary works of fine art, the NMC is a comprehensive museum that gives all-round display of China’s excellent traditional culture, revolutionary culture and advanced socialist culture. It also presents more than 50 high-level international and temporary exhibitions throughout the year, attracting nearly 10 million domestic and international visitors annually. The NMC has thus become one of the most visited museums in the world.
The NMC houses a diverse collection of brilliant artifacts. It has nearly 6,000 items registered as first-rate national cultural heritage which are of great historical, cultural, scientific and artistic values. Taking just a few as examples: the Neolithic jade dragon of Hongshan Culture, known as “the first dragon of China”, the impressive “Hou Mu Wu” bronze ding vessel (late Shang dynasty), the “Li” bronze gui vessel with inscription recording the battle of King Wu, the lifelike jocular pottery storyteller beating a drum (Eastern Han dynasty), the tri-colour glazed figurine of a troupe of musicians on a camel (Tang dynasty), and a variety of porcelain, calligraphy, paintings and rare books of the Song to Qing dynasties. While the excellent traditional Chinese culture is carried on through the museum, there are many objects vividly showing China’s revolutionary culture and advanced socialist culture: from the Opium War of 1840, Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, Boxer Rebellion and Revolution of 1911, to the publication of New Youth magazine, founding of the Communist Party of China, kindling of revolution at the Jinggang Mountains, and raging fire of war to save the nation, from the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 and formation of basic socialist system, to the Chinese socialist path paved through reform and opening-up. The museum tells stories about the development of continuous Chinese civilization in the past 5,000 years, the more than 170 years of arduous endeavour after the Opium War, the 70-year exploration since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the 40 years of reform and opening-up, and the hard work and perseverance since the 18th National Congress of the CPC in 2012. Here at the museum we feel the pulse and soul of the Chinese nation who keeps pushing ahead for self-improvement. We carry on CPC’s original aspirations and lofty ambitions of working for people’s wellbeing and for the rejuvenation of the nation. We gain stronger consciousness of the need to maintain political integrity, think in big-picture terms, follow the leadership core, and keep in alignment, fortify our confidence in Chinese socialist path, theories, system and culture. At the same time, being a “cultural lounge” for China, the NMC plays the roles of promoting international cultural exchanges, showcasing the charm of Chinese civilization and highlighting the achievements of world civilizations.
The 19th CPC National Congress in 2017 included Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era into CPC’s guiding ideology together with Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Theory of Three Represents and the Scientific Outlook on Development, which marks the Chinese nation’s tremendous transformation - it has stood up, grown rich and become strong. It is revealed by the diversified NMC collections demonstrating that the Chinese people have lofty ideals and are willing to make great efforts for realizing them, and that the Chinese Dream is a grand blueprint depicted by General Secretary Xi Jinping for national rejuvenation, a grand vision that can be realized through ceaseless efforts of the Chinese people, and a bright prospect to be pursued and shared by all Chinese. Under the leadership of the CPC, as long as the people of all ethnic groups work with one mind, the Chinese people can deliver all conceivable miracles. In face of the people’s increasing yearning for a better life, the NMC shall, with even greater confidence and courage, lead the museum community, strengthen national cohesion, train professional, revitalize national culture and promote a welcome image. It should also promote the creative development of fine traditional Chinese culture, keep our revolutionary culture alive and strong, and develop an advanced socialist culture. We must cherish our cultural roots, draw on other cultures, and be forward-thinking. The NMC shall innovate while carrying forward the tradition, develop with innovation and seek progress through development, so as to build itself into a world-class museum, tell China’s stories, spread China’s voice, and make its due contributions to enhancing cultural confidence and developing a great socialist culture of China.
A museum is a tridimensional encyclopedia. I believe that when you browse through the exhibitions of history and art at the NMC, you will better understand the spiritual endowments and ceaseless pursuits of the Chinese nation, marvel at the splendour of Chinese culture, experience the colorfulness of international cultural exchanges, and feel the Chinese pride and urge to strive for a better future.
Come and visit the National Museum of China!
Wang Chunfa, PhD
Director of the National Museum of China