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New exhibitions to celebrate Palace Museum anniversary

Updated: Mar 1,2015 10:14 AM     Xinhua

Tourists visit the Palace Museum in Beijing on Sept 10, 2014.[Photo by Shi Yan/Asianewsphoto]

BEIJING — The Palace Museum in Beijing, also known as the Forbidden City, will open more areas to tourists and hold 18 new exhibitions in 2015 to mark its 90th anniversary.

More than 80 percent of the items to go on display have never seen by the public before, according to museum curator Shan Jixiang.

A permanent digital display will be installed on an exterior wall to screen content about the museum including when it is closed.

To be located on the main watchtower at the southern end of the complex, the display is scheduled to open in October.

Other exhibitions, both temporary and permanent, will display paintings and calligraphy, bronze and clay sculptures, jade, porcelain, architectural designs, old photos of the museum and information about the recovery and preservation of cultural relics.

Located in the heart of Beijing, the Forbidden City was home to China’s emperors and was the highest center of power from 1420 to 1911. It attracts more than 15 million visitors annually.

More than 180 million cultural relics have been registered in the museum’s collection.

According to Shan, 65 percent of the palace will be opened to the public this year, up from 52 percent.

The new areas include the western section, where concubines lived. It will be opened to the public for the first time.

The garden of the Palace of Compassion and Tranquillity, where Empresses lived, is one of the four major gardens of the Palace Museum and can be visited from August this year.

Staff in the palace’s public relation office told Xinhua that about 400 cultural relics will be exhibited in the Palace of Compassion and Tranquillity, with some displayed without covers.

The air quality, humidity and temperature will be monitored to ensure no damage to the items.

Aiming to attract visitors in the museum’s quieter months and spread out visits across the year to reduce peaks during high season, the Palace Museum has waived its usual entrance fees on the first Wednesday of each month from December 2014. a policy which will remain in place until April.

It has also provided free entrance to more than 5,000 Chinese teachers, college students, soldiers and police officers and will receive the nation’s doctors and nurses for free on March 4.

Adult tickets for the museum costs about 60 yuan ($9.78) in high season (April to October) and 40 yuan the rest of the year.

The Palace Museum also launched an iPhone app in February to showcase its antiques collection. English users can search for “The Palace Museum” in the iPhone App Store and download the app for free.