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HomeNews HistoryHistory Academic activities
Private museums in China face dilemma
From:CNTV.CN  Writer:  Date:2011-09-21

 

Guanfu Museum, the first private museum in China and approved by the government in 1996, has been relocated several times from downtown to suburban Beijing.

Ma Weidu, director of the museum and a culture celebrity in China, told Beijing Business Today last year that his museum had finally begun to balance its revenue and expenditure after 13 years of operation.

Ma said private museums in China are facing many dilemmas, including no financial support from the government and no profit due to their identity as museums.

In fact, Guanfu Museum has raised money through many channels, such as corporate sponsorship, celebrity influence and selling naming rights, souvenirs and books, which are hard to duplicate in other private museums.

For Wang, without as eye-catching a reputation as Ma, the revenue of his museum mainly comes from tickets sales, which hit more than 10 million yuan with about 180,000 people visiting in 2009. But the costs of annual investment and maintenance are estimated at more than 30 million yuan.

The museum's second phase, which was to include the intangible cultural heritage, such as ancient wedding and funeral ceremonies, has been paused due to lack of funds.

Even before the opening of his museum in December 2008, his antique collection had been misunderstood by many people because China had no detailed laws permitting personal trading in antiques.

Wang and his helpers have been caught by the police many times as suspicious smugglers of cultural relics and his relics buying and transportation must be carried on at night or buried temporarily underground.

During this year's NPC session, Wang suggested that the government should encourage social capital to establish private museums with preferential measures such as subsidies on interest payments.

Shan Jixiang, director of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, also said recently that governments should increase subsidies to private museums and improve related taxation policy, and encourage social organizations and individuals to get involved in the development of private museums.

 

 
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