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China's National Museum celebrates centennial


08:11, July 10, 2012

Photo taken on July 9, 2012 shows the scene of the 100th anniversary ceremony of China's National Museum in Beijing, capital of China. The centennial of China's National Museum was celebrated in Beijing on Monday. (Xinhua/Liu Jiansheng)

BEIJING, July 9 (Xinhua) -- Monday marked the 100th anniversary of the opening of the National Museum, with the country's top leaders calling for more promotion of Chinese culture.

In a congratulatory letter, President Hu Jintao spoke highly of the achievements made by the National Museum in collecting and protecting cultural relics, undertaking scientific research and hosting exhibitions.

Hu also urged the museum to enrich its collections, strengthen its research and exhibition capabilities, expand international exchanges and make new achievements in building a country with cultural strength.

Lying to the east of Tian'anmen Square in central Beijing, the National Museum was formed as a merger between the former National Museum of Chinese History and the National Museum of Chinese Revolution in 2003. The National Museum of Chinese History opened in July 1912.

The National Museum reopened in March 2011 after nearly four years of renovations. With a total area of nearly 200,000 square meters, it is the largest museum in the world.

More than six million people have visited the museum since March 1 last year. Now it receives about 30,000 visitors a day on average, according to museum curator Lu Zhangshen.

"The museum tries to highlight both history and art from China's 5,000 years of culture," Lu said.

"In addition to free exhibitions, the museum also hosts various activities to provide cultural services for the public. We've designed a special area for young people to experience art and history, staged performances on intangible cultural heritage and invited experts to give lectures," Lu said.

Liu Yunshan, head of the Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), said at Monday's celebration that he hopes the museum will become a "world-class museum."

He urged the National Museum to boost the promotion of Chinese culture and promote exchanges between China and the world.

Liu also called for more government input in China's museums in a bid to help them better serve the people.

Li Changchun, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, also attended Monday's celebration, presenting awards to four heritage experts for their outstanding achievements and contributions in academic research.

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