The reconstruction of the National Museum of China began on March 17, 2007, marking the beginning of the 2.6 billion- yuan (US$332 million) project into the world’s largest. The National Museum of China, which sits to the east of Tian’anmen Square, was built in 1959 to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. It was considered an icon of Maoist-era socialist design and symbolic of the Soviet wedding-cake style influence on Chinese art and architecture.
According to the plan released in December 2006, the new building will resemble the old one, despite a few major changes. The new four-story building encompasses 70,000 squares meters and have a total floor space of 192,000 square meter, or three times that of the old building, which is enough to qualify it as the largest museum in the world. The new building has 4 floors above ground and 2 floors underground, and its height reaches 40.3 meters, similar to the height of the great hall of the people, which is 313 meters from north to south and 184 meters from east to west. Construction work will continue until the end of 2009, and the museum will remain closed throughout that period, the 620,000cultural relies in its collection have been moved to make way for the construction.
When the project is completed, the State Administration of cultural heritage (SACH) will transfer another 400,000 relics from the collections of other museums around the country to the national museum. The rebuilding of the national museum is only part of the China’s ambitious plan to build museums Currently. China has more than 2,300 museums, with over 20 million items in their collections. the museum will correspond to China’s international status and its long history and splendid ancient civilization.
The museum will have a permanent exhibition of more than 1 million antiques, historical documents and pictures showing the course of Chinese history. It is regarded as a historic vista reviewing the evolution of the Chinese nation. The Museum will be divided into several sections according to different states in the development of Chinese society : primitive society ( from about 600,000 years ago to the 21st century BC ) ; slave society (21st century to 476 BC) ; feudal society ( 475 BC to AD 1840) ; the semi – colonial, semi – feudal society of the period of the Old Democratic revolution ( 1840-1919) ; revolutionary documents and materials on the history of the Chinese Communist Party dating from the May Fourth Movement of 1919 and the founding of the Communist Party of China 1921.
The exhibits on Party history in the New Democratic revolution include the founding of the Communist Party of China in 1921; the First Revolutionary Civil War (1924-27); the Second Revolutionary Civil War (1927-37); the War of Resistance Against Japan (1937-45); the Third Revolutionary Civil War ( 1945-49 ) and after the founding of the new China . the exhibits illustrate the history of the Chinese Communist Party up to the present. All the cultural relics in the museum are displayed in chronological sequence.
Exhibits in the first section deals with the pre-historic fossil and other relics of Yuanmou Man from Yunnan province, Lantian man from shaanxi province .and Peking Man from Zhoukoudian, 48 kilometers southwest of Beijing. Other sections contain fine bronze ware, jade and bone implements, drinking vessels and silk fabrics from the slave society; ironwork and farm tools from feudal society; and the pottery, porcelain and many other objects from the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and after. The four great inventions of ancient China are also on display; gunpowder, printing, the compass and papermaking, along with other achievements in ideology, culture, science and technology. Well known Chinese statesmen, philosophers, scientists, writers and artists are also shown, and the history of friendly contacts between the Chinese and peoples of other countries is given. there is also a rich collection of historical documents, objects and paintings, which depict peasant uprisings in feudal society and the Chinese people’s struggles against imperialist in modern times.