As the Mid-Autumn Festival and the National Day holidays merge this year, Beijing is preparing for an extended eight-day celebration termed the “conjoined holiday.” With an anticipation of over 12.80 million visitors, the city’s authorities are pulling out all the stops to ensure that tourists experience the best of Beijing’s rich cultural offerings.
Museums are set to be among the top attractions. Major sites, such as the renowned Palace Museum and the National Museum of China, have always garnered attention. However, in a novel move to cater to the increasing demand, numerous local museums in Beijing have foregone their prior “booking ahead” regulations. Now, enthusiasts can directly visit these institutions after procuring tickets either online or on-the-spot, a modification designed to tackle the challenge of high demand versus limited booking slots.
Cultural pundit Chu Xin praises this development, emphasizing that it aids in redistributing visitor flow. “Should someone find themselves unable to secure tickets for more popular museums like the Palace Museum, they needn’t be disheartened. This new system offers an alternative, ensuring that tourists always have options at their disposal,” Chu explains.
Further enhancing the museum-going experience, Song Haojie, the deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Cultural Heritage Bureau, confirmed that local museums will boost the number of available guides and volunteers. They will also see extended operating hours. Additionally, cultural hubs like the Beijing World Art Museum and Tsinghua University Art Museum have curated specialized “night tour” programs.
Zhu Shuting, a tourist from Ganzhou in East China’s Jiangxi Province, voiced the sentiment of many, admitting that while the large influx of tourists can be overwhelming, the allure of Beijing’s diverse museums was too enticing to resist. She’s particularly excited about providing her daughter an enriching immersion into Chinese culture.
Over the course of the holiday, a staggering 126 events are set to unfurl across Beijing’s museums, spanning a myriad of fields from technology and history to art and sciences. The National Museum of China, for instance, has put together an exhibition titled Learning from the Past and Knowing the Future, focusing on China’s archaeological milestones since 2012. Meanwhile, the Palace Museum is shedding light on China’s cherished tea traditions, including the renowned Pu’er tea from Jingmai Mountain, recently recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
A standout initiative is from the Yongding River Museum located in Beijing’s Mentougou district. Their exhibition, Jing Xi Wu Yu (The story of West Beijing), is crafted to showcase the district’s 550 invaluable cultural relics. Ingeniously, many of these relics, like the “colorful glazed beast,” have been reimagined as animated characters, forming a line of imaginative cultural merchandise.
Museum specialist Li Liyang identifies museums as pivotal to China’s cultural consumption, especially during holiday periods. The continual growth and popularity, Li notes, is testament to the Chinese cultural sector’s perpetual pursuit of innovative ways to resonate with the public.
Beyond museums, Beijing will come alive with a staggering 2,097 cultural activities over the holiday stretch. This encompasses not just indoor events, but also outdoor explorations with as many as 30 guided routes, allowing visitors to traverse and discover the historic and cultural essence of the city.