The Military Museum of the Chinese People’s Revolution at No.9 Fuxing Road in Beijing is thefirst military museum in China. Started in October 1958, the construction of the exhibition building was completed in July 1959. The museum opened to the public on 1 August 1960.It’s one of Top Ten Structures in Beijing built to mark the 10th anniversary of the founding of the P.R. China. A reinforcement and renovation project of the structure was started in September 2012 and completed in July 2017. The exhibition building has now a floorage of over 159,000㎡ and an exhibition area of nearly 60,000㎡. The main building measures 94.7m high. The southern and northern flanks are four storeys high. On the top there is a PLA’s emblem measuring six meters wide across. There are 43 exhibition halls (zones) in the museum.
The MilitaryMuseum is primarily dedicated to collecting, studying and displaying cultural relics, objects, documents and literature on the revolution and the achievements of the people’s army under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), as well as on the military history of the Chinese nation. In addition, the museum also sponsors various exhibitions on special topics, current events and memorial issues around the central tasks assigned by the CPC, the Central Government and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), receives Chinese and foreign visitors, organizes related academic research and art creation activities, and conducts cooperation and exchanges with other museums both at home and abroad.There are eight middle-level functions under the museum, namely the General Office, Political Department, Administrative Office, Exhibition Management and Education Department, Exhibition Research Department, Cultural Relics Administration, Exhibition Design Department, and Security Department. In addition, there are the Academic Committee, Art Committee, Cultural Relics Appraisement Committee, and Gallery.
Collections. The cultural relics in the museum’s collection are mainly about the PLA’s history, modern and ancient Chinese military history and the world’s military history, including weapons, military uniforms, badges and military artworks. It collects over 160,000 pieces/sets of cultural heritage, 1,793 pieces/sets of which are national first-grade cultural relics. The cultural relics in the collection include airplanes, cannons, ships, missiles, firearms, ammunition, cold steel, medals, badges, seals, coins, potteries, porcelains, utensils, clothes, flags, documents, and notes, like the terracotta warriors and horses of the Qin Dynasty, iron lance of the Western Han Dynasty, hook-shield of the Han Dynasty, brass tiger tally of the Sui Dynasty, brass blunderbuss of the 11th year of the Zhizheng era of the Yuan Dynasty, bowl-mouthed brass blunderbuss of the fifth year of the Hongwu era of the Ming Dynasty, brass blunderbuss of the 10th year of the Hongwu era of the Ming Dynasty, ivory waist tag of the Imperial Guard of the Ming Dynasty, Wang Shu’s ivory waist tag of the Ming Dynasty, General Weiyuan cannon of the Qing Dynasty, iron cannon of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, Zuo Zongtang’s seal, Ding Ruchang’s armor, iron anchor on Battleship Zhenyuan, brass cannon made by Jinling Arsenal, Gatling gun, the officer’s sword used by Ye Ting in the Northern Expedition, the pistol used by Zhu De in Nachang Uprising, the leather leggings given by Mao Zedong to Yuan Wencai, He Long’s lion-knob seal, the Red Army’s first transceiver, The seal of the Central Revolutionary Military Committee, Zhou Enlai’s Red-star Medal, the iron chain on the Luding Bridge, brocade scroll written with “For the Prosperity of Ethnic Minorities” by He Long, the trench mortar with which the Chinese Army killed the Japanese Lieutenant-General Norihide Abe, Yang Jingyu’s seal, Zuo Quan’s revolver, Bayi-type manual rifle manufactured by the Military Engineering Department of the Eighth Route Army, the samurai sword handed in by Yasuji Okamura the Number One War Criminal of the Japanese Invaders, the PLA’s first tank “Merit”, a bunch of keys to Cite Gates of Beiping (present-day Beijing), Huang Jiguang’s Korean Golden-star Medal, MiG-15 fighter piloted by Wang Hai, gunboat in the Toumenshan Naval Battle andU2 airplane.
The items in the Military Museum’s collection are transferred from units across the Army, donated or transferred by individuals. The museum is known for its featured items concerning the PLA’s history and modern Chinese history. In recent years, the museum has collected more military products around the world by accepting donations and purchasing. Over 8,800 precious pieces/sets have been added into the collection.
The newly-renovated storerooms have a floorage of about 18,000m2, including storehouse, treasure house, catalogue room, photo studio, 3D data collecting studio, restoration room and weapon maintenance workshop. The storehouse is equipped with thermohygrostat, environmental monitoring system, fire-smothering arrangement, information-based management system, communication system and security system. It is a modern, information-based and specialized storehouse integrating cultural relics management, display, protection and data collection, as well as security function.
The exhibitions in the Military Museum are mainly about the military history, plus those on military technology and art. The exhibitions on the military history include:
The CPC-led revolutions
TheNational Defense and Army Building of the P.R. China
Chinese Military History
Military Diplomacy of the P.R. China
The Red Army’s Long March
The exhibition illustrates the history of the CPC-led revolutions to topple imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism. The exhibition consists of three parts, namely the Agrarian Revolutionary War, the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, and the War of Liberation.
The exhibition illustrates the history and brilliant achievements of building a revolutionary, professional and modern army. It depicts the merits of the people’s army which dutifully safeguards and builds the country under the CPC’s guidance. It shows visitors the good traditions of the PLA.
The exhibition on B1, F1 and F2 displays the weapons the PLA captured and used, particularly those that played a significant role in battles. It illustrates how the PLA fought and won in disadvantage and how weaponry was developed in the P.R. China.
The exhibition follows the Chinese military history and represents battles, weaponry, military system and thoughts in the Chinese history. It depicts patriotism of the Chinese nation which never yields to the powerful. Here the visitors immerse themselves in the rich military culture by following the line of the Chinese culture. And they learn about fine traditions of the Chinese nation.
The exhibition fully demonstrates the history and brilliant achievements of the military diplomacy of the P.R. China and shows other countries’ folk customs, craftsmanship and characteristics of military culture.
The exhibition represents important battles, major historical events and key historical figures in the Long March and illustrates the history of the CPC-led Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army. It also depicts the profound influence and significance of the Long March.
The exhibition aims to popularize science and technology among visitors. It introduces the national defense technology and military technology by modern technological means. The exhibition expands in a couple of halls, covering the Heavy Weapons and Equipment of Ground Force, Light Weapons and Equipment of Ground Force, Naval Weapons and Equipment, Weapons and Equipment of Air Force, Missile Weapons and Equipment, Nuclear Weapons and Peaceful Use of Nuclear Technology, and Digital Technology Workshop.
The exhibition consists of three parts, namely oil painting, sculpture and Chinese painting. It displays art pieces with military themes created by artists inside and outside the army. The exhibition fully illustrates what the CPC-led army is like and the brilliant achievements it has made.
In addition to permanent exhibitions, there have been numerous themed exhibitions held in the museum, such as “Miraculous Operations: Mao Zedong’s Military Command”, “Unforgettable History: China’s Resistance Against Japanese Aggression”, “Gutian Conference: A Milestone in the History of the CPC and PLA”, “Mainstay: An Exhibition of the CPC-led War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression”, “An Epic of Immortal Heroism: On the 80th Anniversary of the Victory of the Red Army’s Long March” and the nationwide “Red Series” itinerant exhibitions. They were widely acclaimed by the central leadership as well as people from all walks of life, exerting immense impact upon the society.“Building A Strong Army with a Brilliant Tradition: The Exhibition Marking the 90th Founding Anniversary of the PLA” held in July 2017 fully demonstrates the PLA’s brilliant achievements. The exhibition consists of indoor and outdoor parts. The exhibition area totals 7,300㎡ (with an indoor area of 5,000m2 and an outdoor area of 2,300㎡). There are on the exhibition over 1,100 photos, over 1,300 cultural relics, 18 large sets ofequipment, 22 sets of individual soldier equipment, 13 art pieces, seven scene installations and 61 models. The exhibition aims to highlight the PLA’s good style and traditions and the brilliant achievements in the national defense and army building since the 18th CPC National Congress.
An information-based museum. The website was officially launched on 1 August 2010. A Digital Military Museum was co-established with Baidu Baike. In addition, the museum is accessible via Weibo and WeChat official account.
An information-based project was started in 2017 when the renovation was completed. An information system is established with “one center and five platforms”, based upon mobile Internet, IOT and big data technology, as well as the model and technical standard of Smart Museum established by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, i.e., the communication, service, teaching and research, management and operation platforms have been set up by leveraging cloud computing. Ten application systems are put into use, including website, APP, WeChat official account, virtual museum, ticketing system, public information guide, smart venue management and smart tour guide. IntelliSense, GPS and interaction are added to previous digital functions. Online and offline information is integrated. Visitors enjoy more specific and smarter service based upon big data and info push.
The Military Museum has since 1985 published the monthly Military Historyon the history, weaponry and military art of the Chinese and foreign forces.