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The Sino-German Museums Forum was held at the Palace Museum from the 19-20th of September 2016. During the forum, academic delegations from the Palace Museum and the Berlin State Museums (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, or SMB) conducted extensive discussion on new theories and practical experiences on issues related to museological administration and academia.
With more than 400 people in attendance, the forum was part of the 34th World Congress of Art History (Comité International d’Histoire de l’Art, or CIHA). As one of the co-organizers of the congress, the Palace Museum proudly promotes Chinese art abroad and seeks to foster international exchange as a contribution to the Belt and Road Initiative (Yilu yidai).
Dr. Zhu Qingsheng, the new president of CIHA and professor at Peking University, spoke at the opening ceremony, while Dr. Michael Eissenhauer, the director-general of SMB, and Director Shan Jixiang of the Palace Museum delivered keynote speeches.
During the forum, Mr. Shan Jixiang presented his view on how the museum should adapt its development strategy to meet with the increasingly diversified cultural needs of the public. He noted the efforts made by the Palace Museum in the
expansion of the visiting areas, the continued development of digital cultural products, and the improvement of information accessibility, all of which serve to cultivate aficionados of traditional Chinese culture.
In his talk “Nucleus Art Chamber: The Humboldt Forum and its Origins in the Ancient Prussian Art Chamber,” Dr. Eissenhauer discussed the collections concerning art, technology, and natural history at the twenty museums affiliated to the SMB and analyzed the role that the Humboldt Forum had played in shaping, affecting, and fostering the history of German museums.
Other discussions covered topics such as museology, museum history, conservation technologies for cultural heritage, portraiture techniques, the rise of private museums and their acquisitions, the preservation of heritage architecture,
the protective conservation and display of textiles, public education, and cultural interpretation.
The forum participants concluded that museums should continue to make contributions to the causes of serving the public, protecting art, preserving culture, and transmitting cultural heritage.
A second forum scheduled to be held in Berlin at the site of the Humboldt Forum next September will serve to celebrate and honor the 100th anniversary of the founding of the SMB.
The Palace Museum and the SMB are planning two cooperative programs. A selection of Ming and Qing portraits is to be exhibited at Berlin’s Museum of Asian Art (Museum für Asiatische Kunst) next September. The exhibition is included as a part of the events celebrating the 45th anniversary of the establishment of Sino-German diplomatic relations. The two institutions also plan to co-publish a compendium on 18th century Tibetan Buddhism. The book will include illustrated biographies of eminent Buddhist monks from the Palace Museum collection and portraits of the fifth Changkya Khutukhtu—the spiritual leader of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism in the southern part of Mongolia during the Qing dynasty—kept in Berlin’s Museum of Ethnology (Ethnologisches Museum).