A glorious past, a transforming present and an exciting future. The 600-year-old museum is turning something old into gold. Showcasing the history of China’s cultural relics, opening doors to people under the full moon, and it's all proving to be a big hit with visitors.
"President Xi said there are two important ways to revive cultural relics, the exhibition heritage, and the characters of ancient books. One is to systematically sort historical and cultural resources, and the other is to highlight the unique charm of Chinese culture in various ways," said Shan Jixiang, curator of the Palace Museum.
And China's iconic Palace Museum is doing exactly that. It has innovative ideas like depicting some of the country's most famous cultural artifacts on items like clothing. For example, its “Ji (吉) Clothes" is proving to be ever so popular, as it incorporates traditional Chinese paintings.
"During China's thousands of years of history, people have worn different clothes in different festivals to express their inner joy and peace, and to pray for good luck. It's an old costume category. Through this subtle thing, it can reflect the aesthetics of the East, the sense of ritual in life, and we've provided a modern interpretation. We can see the great trend of the Palace Museum's culture through this small sign," said Gu Yingying, the founder and CEO of ICY Global Designer Platform.
And the Palace Museum isn't the only one making moves to distinguish itself. By the end of last year, the National Museum of China and the Summer Palace opened online stores, even the British Museum is looking to tap into the Chinese market. While some worry that the Palace Museum may be becoming too commercialized, most consumers are happy to support its efforts.
"I think it's good. That's the big difference between China and other countries. We spread our culture, so it's much closer to the people. I heard that the Palace Museum had stopped producing a lipstick over a quality issue. I went in and saw it for sale, so I bought it to try to support it," said a visitor.
Another visitor pointed out, "We have to support it. Now with society developing so fast, not many people are willing to study China's traditional culture. So it's a good platform. People like those little products first, and then dig into the culture. It's like a window for people to get to know China's ancient history. It means a lot."
With efforts like these to regenerate its image and expand its appeal among young people, the Palace Museum's glorious and ever-changing history should be safe and sound for the foreseeable future.