Kunqu Opera artists perform The Peony Pavilion at the Palace Museum in Beijing on Wednesday. The performance was part of the museum's celebrations for the 40th International Museum Day. [Photo by Jiang Dong/China Daily]
The importance of museums playing a bigger role in cultural heritage and environmental protection was highlighted by a senior cultural official on Wednesday.
A museum should be a center to illustrate its surrounding cultural heritage sites, according to Liu Yuzhu, director of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage.
"Local people's awareness of the origins of their common values can also be raised in this way."
Liu was speaking at the Inner Mongolia Museum in Hohhot, capital of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, at the main event in China marking the 40th International Museum Day.
China had 4,692 registered museums by the end of last year, 182 more than the previous year, and 23.7 percent of them are private museums, a year-on-year rise of 1.9 percent, Liu said.
This year's slogan for International Museum Day is "Museums and Cultural Landscapes," which Liu said emphasizes the importance of museums playing a greater part in protecting cultural heritage and the environment.
According to the administration, more than 20,000 exhibitions are held in Chinese museums every year, attracting about 700 million visitors.
Last year, one of the country's top exhibitions, Precious Collection of the Stone Moat, at the Palace Museum, attracted wide public attention. A display at the Capital Museum of cultural relics unearthed from the tomb of the Marquis of Haihun, a title given to Liu He (92BC-59BC), also drew the crowds.
"When so many visitors take flights and trains from other cities just to see a museum exhibition, cultural heritage has become a focus in our society," Liu said.
International Museum Day was launched by the International Council of Museums in 1977 to raise public awareness of the importance of museums. It has been marked annually in China since the country joined the council in 1983.
Museums nationwide staged special events on Wednesday.