One hundred and ten years of arduous work has paved the way for the achievements of today. Committed to protecting the Chinese people’s cultural genes, the conservation team of the National Museum of China (NMC) endeavors to enrich the profession with growing collections and technological advancement. From the museum’s very beginning, staff put forward the concept of cultural relics protection as the leaders in their field. After the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the museum established a new conservation system covering bronzes, calligraphy and paintings, rubbings, rare books, ceramics, jades, lacquerwares, and ancient costumes. The conservation techniques have also evolved with the inheritance of traditional craftsmanship. In the field of replicating contemporary artifacts, the museum has become an important institute for revolutionary artifact duplication. In the 1960s, scientific analysis was introduced into the field of cultural relics conservation and the museum set up one of the earliest preservation laboratories in China, helping to integrate traditional restoration techniques and modern technologies in a mutually complementary fashion. Since the Reform and Opening-up in the late 1970s, the conservation field has made great progress. While having completed the restoration of a large number of precious artifacts, the conservation team has carried out extensive collaboration and exchanges both domestically and abroad by making use of its own technological advantages.
In recent years, the NMC has continued to invest in cultural relics conservation and enhance technology and interdisciplinary research in the field of conservation. Traditional craftsmanship and modern technologies are integrated closely. Preventive protection covers everything from exhibition to storage, and conservation work extends to oil paintings and artifacts representing technological and industrial heritage. 3D printing and virtual restoration have become new techniques employed in cultural relics protection, and the conservation team has kept pace with the times through new concepts and new understanding in the field of cultural relics conservation. While providing social services, the NMC team has participated in many major national projects and has made great achievements in conservation research. Today’s National Museum of China is home to a leading conservation team with functions in inspection, research, conservation, restoration, and duplication. While inheriting the legacy of their forebears, the conservators use their fine skills and advanced technologies to protect important Chinese cultural heritage.
President Xi Jinping places great importance on cultural heritage protection and stresses that the ongoing conservation work will greatly benefit future generations. Museums are important places to preserve human civilization. It is our responsibility and mission as conservators to protect, inherit, and display the outstanding achievements of Chinese civilization. The current exhibition of NMC’s Achievements in Cultural Heritage Conservation showcases both the progressive development of conservation concepts and technologies, as well as the contributions made by the NMC in the field of cultural heritage conservation over the past 110 years. Our achievements displayed in this exhibition are not only an embodiment of President Xi’s guiding principle on cultural relics protection, but also a holistic reflection of the National Museum of China’s undying devotion and efforts in the field of cultural relics conservation. Moving forward to a new journey in a new era, the National Museum of China will continue to contribute to building a strong socialist cultural power through enlivening and utilizing cultural relics, encouraging exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations, and promoting the museum and cultural industries.