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Innovative marketing draws younger audiences to Palace Museum

2018/5/18 9:39:07   source:China Plus

The nearly 600-year-old Forbidden City, once the exclusive domain of emperors and the royal court, has been using creative marketing and sales of cultural products in recent years to engage younger audiences.

Emperor and concubine dolls are pictured standing in the Palace Museum. [Photo: Weibo account of the Palace Museum]

Emperor and concubine dolls are pictured standing in the Palace Museum. [Photo: Weibo account of the Palace Museum]

The Palace Museum in Beijing, more commonly known as the Forbidden City, is the site of the royal palace for the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 A.D.) and Qing Dynasty (1636-1912 A.D.). The palace complex, which was listed as a World Heritage Site in 1987, is home to the largest preserved wood structure in the world, and is a must-see spot for domestic and international tourists in Beijing.

By the end of 2016, the Palace Museum had created more than 8,700 products with total sales worth more than 1 billion yuan (about 158 million U.S. dollars). Since taking office in 2012, Shan Jixiang, the chief director of the Palace Museum, and his colleagues have attached great significance to tapping into the cultural intellectual property of the museum. They have done this by developing the wide range of products sold by the museum, and by launching emoji packages and apps that have caught the attention of a young audience.

The museum management has also produced documentaries like "Masters in Forbidden City" and "The Palace Museum Diary" to show the public some of the work behind-the-scenes at the museum, such as the restoration process for relics and the work of craftspeople who maintain the palace complex.

The Palace Museum is also using virtual reality technology to provide an interactive virtual visit for people unable to visit the museum. The virtual exhibits are also a way to keep on display relics in exhibitions temporarily closed for public viewing.

According to Shan Jixiang, the fundamental reason why the Palace Museum has become so popular among young people is that it strikes the right balance between preserving history, sharing knowledge, and providing interesting interactive displays.

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