The Palace Museum, also known as the Forbidden City, is planning to close to the public on Mondays. The move will help planned renovations proceed and improve maintenance at the museum.
Built in the very heart of Beijing, the Forbidden City was the exclusive home of China’s emperors and the seat of power for five centuries. Now, the iconic compound welcomes 14 million visitors a year. The museum’s management says it's time to give it some regular rest.
"The museum receives more visitors than any other museum in the world. It’s under tremendous pressure as it houses so many invaluable treasures and collections. Closing one day a week is long overdue." Shan Jixiang, curator of The Palace Museum, said.
The museum says the Monday closures will give staff the opportunity to clean relics, maintain collections, renovate ancient buildings, and upgrade security facilities. Officials say the chairs, tables and flooring in the Hall of Supreme Harmony haven’t had a thorough cleaning in a decade.
"The carving on this dragon chair is very exquisite. If we don’t properly clean and maintian it, the dirt and grim could damage this treasure." Min Junrong, technical expert of The Palace Museum, said.
"Protection always tops our priority. We must use our wisdom to ensure protection and preservation." Shan said.
While the former imperial palace has closed Monday afternoons since last January, it’s the first time it will close for an entire day each week but only during the low season.
"We will extend our hours during the peak season, and close the museum when there are fewer visitors. This will allow us to improve our service and protect the ancient relics." Shan said.
Most museums close one day a week. The Louvre in France closes on Tuesdays. And most other museums in Beijing are closed on Mondays.