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19 September 2018 – The Palace Museum has officially opened special facilities for nursing mothers and mothers with infants or toddlers. This Baby Care Room is located on the west side of the plaza south of the Gate of Heavenly Purity (Qianqing men), immediately to the east (i.e., inside) of the Gate of the Thriving Imperial Clan (Longzong men), and south of the Office of the Grand Council of State (Junji chu). This practical space provides a clean and comfortable nursery for women with small children during their visit to the Palace Museum.
The Baby Care Room is furnished with three private nursing rooms, restrooms for mothers with infants, and various practical equipment of the highest quality, including a changing table, bottle warmers, sinks with adjustable water temperature, baby wipes, and child seats. The east side of the facility has a shop with a range of unique products appropriate for infants and small children. Some of the items for sale include soft toys and stuffed animals in the likeness of various mythological creatures seen in the art and architecture of the Forbidden City. The toddlers and other small children visiting the space will be excited to find a slide and other entertaining features.
In contrast to typical baby care facilities, this space advances the Palace Museum’s efforts to combine cultural innovation with visitor services. The décor theme of the Baby Care Room is “Auspicious Arrivals” (Xiangrui jianglin) and showcases cartoon images of various auspicious creatures like lions, hangshi, elephants, luduan, qilin, xiezhi, cranes, dragon-turtles (longgui), and celestial horses (tianma). Each of these featured animals is found in the art and architecture of the Forbidden City and function to continue the historic legacy of the Palace Museum’s auspicious culture. Visitors are able to take photographs with the adorable cartoons while they gain valuable cultural knowledge and have an opportunity to purchase souvenirs. Free and open to visitors, the space is staffed with women employees to assist as needed.
For many years, the Palace Museum’s administration has strived to provide a quality experience for visitors. As the Museum’s services have continually improved, the administration has expanded offerings with improvements in online ticketing, security checks, directional signage, exhibition design, volunteer guides, rest areas, food service, and innovative retail. The new Baby Care Room is the latest addition to providing comprehensive, considerate service as the Palace Museum’s administration seeks to create a memorable experience for each visitor.
Translated and edited by Adam J. Ensign and Kang Xiaolu