Introduction to Capital Museum

    The plan for the Capital Museum, located in the Confucius Temple, was prepared in 1953. The museum formally opened in 1981.
    As a major cultural construction project in Beijing in the “10th Five-Year Plan”, the new Capital Museum, approved by Beijing Municipal Government in 1999, further approved by the State Council after being submitted by the National Development and Reform Commission in 2001, finally commenced its construction in December 2001.
    Under the concern and guidance of Beijing Municipal Government, after four years of hard work, the museum finally makes its debut along the western extension of Chang’an Street, the First Street of China. With its magnificent architecture, abundant exhibitions, advanced technology and complete functions, the Capital Museum, large and modern, makes its contribution to the titles such as “famous historical and cultural city”, “cultural center” and “international metropolis” of Beijing and ranks among the first class museums both at home and abroad.

Classical Architecture

    The architectural design concept of the Capital Museum is “Based on human and cultural heritages to serve the society” and underlines “Harmonious integration of past and present, history and modernism, art and nature”.
    The construction of the Capital Museum itself is an architectural artwork integrating both classical and modern beauty. It is of distinct national characteristics on one hand and obvious modern feeling on the other. The massive roof inherits its design from the roof overhang of Chinese traditional architectural style; the long stone curtain wall stands for the city wall in ancient China; the gradient of the square refers to the architectural style of dais construction in ancient time; a piece of Danbi (a piece of massive stone carved with images like dragon, phoenix or cloud for gods to walk on) is imbedded in the ground in front of the north gate of the hall; a decorative archway from the Ming Dynasty is set in the hall, which shows the traditional Chinese architectural characteristic of “central axis in a plane”; the leaning and projecting wall of the oval Bronze Exhibition Hall implies unearthing of ancient relics.
    Large quantity of bronze, timbers and stones used presents an even deeper sense of historical profoundness. Stones used in the ground of the north square and the grand hall are all produced in Fangshan, where stones have constantly been supplied for construction of Beijing since ancient time. Elms, the most commonly seen trees in Beijing, are adopted as external decoration materials of the Rectangular Exhibition Hall; while bronze, decorated with texture style of the bronzes of the Western Zhou Dynasty unearthed in Beijing, is used to decorate the external facades of the Oval Exhibition Hall.
    The steel structure canopy roof and glass curtain wall express the dynamic time pace of Beijing, while grand and transparent visual effect keeps abreast with the international fashion of modern architecture.
    There are three independent constructions within the new museum, they are respectively, the Rectangular Exhibition Hall, the Oval Exhibition Hall and the quadrate Office & Scientific Research Building. Spaces between them are the central hall and indoor bamboo courtyard. An environment of both human and natural sentiment is therefore created by adopting natural light, blended with the decorative archway of Chinese style, sunken bamboo courtyard and rippling water.
    The museum is highly praised by personalities from all walks of life both at home and abroad immediately upon completion.

Abundant Exhibitions

    Articles exhibited in the new Capital Museum are mainly past years’ collections and unearthed historical heritages of the Beijing area, combined with the latest research results concerning the history, cultural heritages, archeology and relevant subjects of Beijing. Furthermore, by studying the successful experiences from museums both at home and abroad, modern exhibitions featured by Beijing characteristics are shaped.
    The compilation of the exhibition outline was started in 2000, the same year when the new Capital Museum began construction. The work, trying to show the latest results commonly recognized by academic circles in the exhibition, is guided by many academic authorities from institutions such as the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Peking University, and Beijing Academy of Social Sciences etc. The goal of the museum was to adopt new design concepts to break traditional dull exhibition pattern and use modern exhibition technologies and methods to create a different exhibition style so as to give visitors the personal experience, make exhibition more touchable, lively, and interactive and suit tastes of both the refined and common people
    The positioning of the Capital Museum determines its exhibition items: regular exhibitions, exhibitions of fine artistic collection and temporary exhibitions.
    Regular exhibitions include “Ancient Capital Beijing— History and Culture”, “Ancient Capital Beijing — Urban Construction” and “Old Stories of Beijing — Exhibition of Old Beijing Folk Customs”. “Ancient Capital Beijing— History and Culture” and “Ancient Capital Beijing — Urban Construction” show the splendid and glorious Beijing culture, which has constantly evolved and gradually formed its glorious development history. They have become the brand exhibitions to build the top-class museum at home.
    Exhibitions of fine artistic collection include Exhibition of Fine Artistic Collection of Ancient Chinaware, Exhibition of Fine Collection of Ancient Beijing Bronze Art, Exhibition of Fine Artistic Collection of Ancient Calligraphy, Exhibition of Fine Artistic Collection of Ancient Paintings, Exhibition of Fine Artistic Collection of Ancient Jade Ware, Exhibition of Fine Artistic Collection of Ancient Buddha Statues and Exhibition of Fine Artistic Collection of Gadgets of Studies. The seven exhibitions of fine artistic collection and “Old Stories of Beijing — Exhibition of Old Beijing Folk Customs” serve as supplements and expansion to present Beijing culture.
    Totally 5,622 pieces of historical heritages are exhibited in the exhibitions.
    The temporary exhibitions serve as a stage to study and appreciate the exchange relations between cultures of Beijing and the other regions and that of China and the world.

Advanced Technology

    Collection, exhibition and research are the major functions of museums. The new Capital Museum fully refers to and adopts advanced technologies of construction of museums around the world and is of top class in China in these three aspects.
    Intelligent Projects — Intelligent temperature and humidity control air-conditioning system is installed in the exhibition halls which ensures comfortable temperature and humidity in the halls for the public and keeps reasonable temperature and humidity within the exhibition counters to protect cultural heritages; different temperatures and humidity levels are provided according to different materials of cultural heritages in the storehouse.
    The safety technological precaution system (including the control and lighting system of the parking lot), fire supervision & control and automatic fire extinguishing system (including emergency alarm system), automatic system in buildings, sound and light linkage control system are all intelligent devices; particularly, special design has been made in the automatic fire extinguishing to prevent cultural heritages from being damaged by water.
    Digital Museum Project — The digital information project of the Capital Museum is a creative project in the national cultural heritage field. (1) Digital technology of a complete framework has been realized in the compilation and display of information resources of the museum. Digital technologies have been utilized in the management of the collected cultural heritages. (2) Digital technologies have been fully utilized as the supplement to the exhibitions. Visual multimedia effects such as multi-screen projecting, illusory imaging, visual reality images, and digital movies have been widely used where it is necessary to the exhibition, to enhance the effectiveness of the exhibition and to change the dullness of textbook-like exhibitions. (3) A comprehensive information platform based on the subsystems of each specialty of the museum is the first to be established in China to serve staff of internal departments and visitors (including visitors out of the museum).
    There are 11 subsystems of digital specialties of the museum including information management system of culture heritages,background management system of multimedia display, website of the Capital Museum etc.
    Multimedia Display — In exhibitions and displays, multimedia means are widely used, for instance, multi-screen projecting (first adopted in international museums), illusory imaging, visual reality images, digital movies etc., to enhance exhibition effect, deepen information convey of material exhibits. It thoroughly changes the dullness of textbook-like exhibitions.
    Environmental Protections & Energy Saving — The non-crystal soft skin solar power panel adopted is also initiative among domestic museums and cultural halls. Energy-saving lamps and lanterns and EPS emergency power of colloid battery are adopted as well; all decoration materials used in the museum and exhibition counters are green environmental protection products meeting national standards.
    Restoration of Cultural Heritages — Complete sets of cultural heritages conservation and restoration equipment have been brought in to enhance the overall conservation and restoration level by taking advantage of high-tech methods so as to make the Capital Museum a base for cultural heritages protection and restoration in north China.

Complete Functions

    Besides being positioned as a significant cultural facility, the new Capital Museum also serves to carry out cultural heritages protection and research, disseminate a patriotic spirit and historical and scientific knowledge to the public and the youth in Beijing; moreover, it is an important ceremony and ritual holding site and a public place for tourism and leisure as well.
    Central Ritual Hall With an area of 2,000m2 and a height of 34m, integrating prominently both Chinese cultural characteristics and modern sense, it is an ideal site for ritual and cultural activities of large scale.
    Exhibition Hall The independence of exhibition halls of different subjects facilitates the public to visit selectively and shorten visiting lines on one hand and is convenient for safety control on the other. With abundant space and adequate height, these exhibition halls are ideal for various exhibitions. The temporary exhibition hall with an area of over 3,000m2 is designed to offer an exhibition platform for domestic and international cultural art exchanges of top class. Exhibition of rare and precious cultural heritages in the exhibition halls can be guaranteed with the intelligent temperature and humidity control system and safety and fire suppression systems.
    Cultural Heritages Storehouse Adequate space, reasonable compartmentation; advanced and complete safety and fire control facilities; hydraulic lift of 10 ton load capacity can transport cultural heritages directly from ground to the storehouse, which is exclusive among both domestic and foreign museums at present.
    Multi-function Hall The Hall is equipped with the most advanced technology in China such as systems for Multilanguage simultaneous interpretation, digital movie playing and conference voting and special website for conference room etc.
    Digital Movie Hall An arc super wide visual screen is capable to display digital films of high definition and the displaying equipment is with the highest definition; the first film that will be shown is “Glorious Beijing”; 3D digital films will be produced in the future.

Service of Supreme Quality

    The Capital Museum is based on complete and advanced equipment and facilities and operated in accordance with the principle of “human service concept”.
    Reception The Capital Museum has multi-language reception and consultation, luggage-storage counters, public watering place, chairs for rest, parking lots for motor and non-motor vehicles.
    Tour guide and interpretation The museum provides the public with free multi-language view guide maps, color papers of exhibition introduction both in Chinese and English; multi-language explanation and special expert explanation; touch screen consulting computers, multi-language intelligent audio tour guide and multi-language personal digital assistants (PDA) tour guide initially adopted in China.
    Giant screen in the Central Ritual Hall The museum has adopted full-color giant screen of the highest definition in the world to display introductions to exhibitions in the museum, temporary exhibitions and digital films of historical scenery spots in Beijing, and double primary-color giant screen to display information on exhibitions and services in the form of characters.
    Educational and interactive services Theme speeches, activities for children, hands-on experiencing programs and interactive multimedia programs are available all year round in the museum.
    Leisure Service Facilities such as the dinner restaurant, coffee houses, tea bar, souvenir shop, bookshop, ATM, postbox and public telephones are available.
    As a modern general museum, the Capital Museum will make more and more contributions to enriching people’s spiritual life, enhancing cultural exchanges with foreign countries and speeding the socialistic cultural building of Beijing.

Detailed Location of Each Exhibition Hall

  Square Hall Round Hall
Basement Temporary Exhibition Hall Multifunctional Hall
First Floor Temporary Exhibition Hall Multimedia Playing HallInteractive Hall
Second Floor Ancient Capital -- History and Culture Exhibition of Fine Artistic Collection of Ancient Calligraphy
Third Floor Ancient Capital Beijing -- Urban Construction Exhibition of Fine Artistic Collection of Ancient Paintings
Fourth Floor Exhibition of Fine Artistic Collection of Ancient ChinawareExhibition of Fine Artistic Collection of Ancient Buddha StatuesDrama Stage Exhibition of Fine Artistic Collection of Ancient Jade Ware
Fifth Floor Old Stories of Beijing -- Exhibition of Old Beijing Folk Customs Exhibition of Fine Artistic Collection of Ancient Jade Ware
Sixth Floor
  Exhibition of Fine Gadgets of Studies