If you are interested in art, museums or exhibitions, Friday is going to be a bonus day for you, because numerous special exhibitions are being held around the world and many museums are opening their doors for free to celebrate International Museum Day (IMD).
To better promote museum culture, IMD features a different theme each year in order to offer a common topic for all museums to follow. This year's theme, chosen by the International Council of Museums (ICOM) Advisory Committee annually, is Hyperconnected Museums: New Approaches, New Publics.
Established in 1977, IMD has continued to encourage museums to find new ways to encourage people to take part in cultural activities.
What to expect
Originating from "muse," the inspirational goddesses of literature, science and the arts in Greek mythology, museums have the dual function of providing both education and enjoyment.
"The function of the museum cannot be replaced in any time, space or civilization," Guan Qiang, the deputy director of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, said at the media conference.
To bring the public and culture closer together, museums in China have continued each year to hold special events for IMD. In big cities like Beijing and Shanghai, more than 99 museums offer free admission, while other places such as East China's Jiangsu Province, Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and Central China's Hubei Province all hold free cultural activities.
This year, for example, Shanghai is holding a special museum night which will see more than 50 museums stay open past normal closing times so those who are too busy to visit the museum during daytime can enjoy exhibitions.
In Hubei, cultural lectures and living performances about the province's traditional Chu culture are being held in primary schools to educate students about local history.
High tech solutions are also being brought into play for the day.
Those office workers who have limited time to participate in activities, can use their smartphones to access virtual exhibitions and activities online.
"I wish International Museum Day was longer. One day is too short to visit all the museums that I like," Tracy Zheng, a curator who works in the Palace Museum in Beijing, told the Global Times.
"Museums are becoming much more interesting than before," said Zheng.
"I see far more new types of exhibitions, such as 3D experiences. Also, I feel a stronger connection with museums since more interactive activities have been introduced," Zheng noted.
As Zheng noticed, museums throughout China are stretching their creative imaginations to come up with interesting ways to catch the attention of visitors. Instead of just limiting themselves to static displays, museums are now focusing more on the visitor experience as they make their way around the museum.
Below are two museums that are more focused on a providing an interesting experience than just giving visitors something to look at.
Red Star Erguotou Museum
China is a country famed for its liquor culture. One of the prides of this culture is Erguotou, a well-known Chinese white liquor. A clear and potent spirit, it takes six months to produce a single bottle.
Located in Beijing's Huairou district, the Red Star Erguotou Museum appeals to many foreign tourists, especially for those who are interested in seeing what China has to offer when it comes to liquor.
Walking about the museum, visitors can learn about the history of Erguotou and get an idea of how it is made by examining the many displays. However, more interestingly, Erguotou is also brewed on site, so visitors can see the brewing process for themselves. For the daring, there are also samples to try, so long as you can handle it.
Shanghai Shikumen Museum
When it comes to Shanghai history, many people think of the city as it was during the 1920s and 1930s. The boisterous city culture of the time is what enabled Shanghai to become known as the Oriental Pearl along the Pacific Rim.
Those who may want to experience this time for themselves can head to the Shanghai Shikumen Museum.
The museum is a great place to escape the glitzy modern atmosphere of place like Xintiandi, a fashionable shopping center.
Visiting the museum is just like traveling in a time machine, taking you back to the 1920s and 1930s.
The museum was converted from an old five-room building built during the 1920s. The rooms are furnished as they would have been more than 80 years ago, so visitors can see what life was like for a well-to-do family back in the day.
Among all the rooms, the most interesting is the tingzijian, a tiny triangular room that was sometimes rented out at a low price to those needing a cheap place to live as a way to bolster the family income.