How a History Museum became a Web Red?

*Web Red direct translation of the Chinese word, 网红, which means cyber celebrities.

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The Forbidden City | The Palace Museum

The Palace Museum is housed in the Forbidden City, which housed the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. It is located in the middle of Beijing, China. For almost five centuries, it served as the home of the Emperor and his household, and the ceremonial and political center of Chinese government.

Built from 1406 to 1420, the complex consists of 980 surviving buildings with 8,707 bays of rooms and covers more than 7,750,000 square feet. The palace complex exemplifies traditional Chinese palatial architecture, and has influenced cultural and architectural developments in East Asia. The Forbidden City was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987, and is listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world.

Today, there are over a million rare and valuable works of art in the permanent collection of the Palace Museum, including paintings, ceramics, seals, steles, sculptures, inscribed wares, bronze wares, enamel objects, etc. 

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But for the past few years, the Forbidden City as a Museum was always in trouble.

Always PACKED

Always PACKED

Not CLEAN

Not CLEAN

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The Chinese Internet users summarized the mistakes the museum has made, including exhibits that got stolen or were damaged by museum staff, typos in public document, and, most surprisingly, when a private club opened somewhere inside the palace museum, museum officials didn't know anything about it, until someone posted it on social media. 

However, everything improved because of this man.

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The new curator of the Palace Museum: Shan Jixiang (单霁翔). He visited all of the more than 9,000  rooms and houses in the Palace Museum, making him the first man  to do so in 600 years. (I know, the Forbidden City is indeed too big!) No one actually knew how many ancient cultural relics were in the museum, he gave the answer: There are 9,371 rooms in the palace and 1,807,558 artifacts.

And to enhance the security system, he customized every camera in the palace to match the architect style of the buildings. No more relics would be stolen under the new security system!

Under his management, now the Palace Museum looks like this:

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Last November, President Xi brought Trump to the Palace Museum.

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How does the Palace Museum became a Web-Red, a cyber celebrity?

Mr. Shan, the new curator, gets all the credit! In the past, visitors needed to wait more than an hour to buy the ticket to enter the palace. Since October 10 last year, all tickets are only available online and every day has visitor limitations to ensure the palace won't be too crowded. 

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Since the tickets are sold online, the Palace Museum opened their online market targeting millennials. The emperors and his concubines are no longer boring images on the history books, the creative team of the Palace Museum brought them to life.

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Also, their online merchandise shop is a big success.

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Small stationary supplies with the palace elements are the most popular ones. People claim they spent way more money on the merchandises than the entrance tickets. Sometimes for the small gifts, they want to visit the Palace Museum in person.

This week, the Palace Museum dropped another “bomb” to millions of cosmetic lovers.

The cosmetic packaging designs are all inspired by the paintings, vases exhibit in the Palace Museum.

Once the cosmetic line was available on Taobao.com, unsurprisingly, the kits sold out only in a very short amount of time. 

As a Chinese, I'm extremely proud of our history. Everything related to the Chinese history always draws my attention. To be honest, I was pretty sad when my parents brought me to Beijing to visit the Palace Museum when I was in elementary school, that trip was not pleasant at all! Everything's old and the place was packed. But to see the Ming/Qing dynasties Palace became such a vibrant place, there's no word can express how excited I am. I'm so thankful to Mr. Shan the new curator, he is obviously not that typical kind of Chinese scholar, who’s unwilling to change. Shan makes the museum interact with younger generations. Due to his passion, the museum is back to life and might become the most amazing museum in the world! 

By Cara Wang

(all photo courtesy to the Palace Museum)

The Origin Of The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

The Christmas tree showcased at the Rockefeller Center, which was erected last Wednesday in a festive ceremony, symbolizes the holiday season in New York. The origin of this annual tradition, however, began at a not-so-merry time period. In 1931, the Great Depression was taking a toll on the U.S labor force, with unemployment at 15.9% (compared to today's four percent). On Christmas Eve, the construction workers building the Rockefeller Center (completed in 1939) had a cause to celebrate: unlike so many others, -they- were getting paid. To celebrate this occasion, the workers put up a 20-foot tall tree decorated with ornaments, right where they would be getting their paychecks: Rockefeller Center. Two years later, a savvy publicist with Rockefeller Center organized the first official tree lighting ceremony, establishing the now well-known tradition and calling the tree “a holiday beacon for New Yorkers and visitors alike.” Ever since then, people from around the globe gather at Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas tree that brightens up Midtown, Manhattan.

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71 Years Ago, The United Nations Votes to Partition Palestine

1947--In the summer of 1947, the SS Exodus set sail from France. On board were over 4,500 Jewish men, women, and children, all displaced persons or survivors of the Holocaust trying to find new lives in the Palestine region. But in their way were British troops trying to keep promises made to the Palestinian Arabs to limit Jewish immigration. The British Navy were waiting at the shores of Palestine, violently forcing the passengers on boats back to Europe where they would be living in British-operated internment camps in Cyprus. The British treatment of these migrants did not go unnoticed; newspapers from around the globe reported on the British action to send the Jews back to Europe. For example, Jewish Telegraphic Agency correspondent, Robert Gary, captured photos of life for the Jews inside these camps. One photo showed Jews having to repair barbed wire fences, which drew comparison to the Holocaust where they would have to do the same thing. An American newspaper ran the headline "Back to the Reich" when reporting on the treatment of the Jews in the camps. All of the reporting quickly drew compassion towards the Jews from the public. The demand for a permanent home for the Jews was growing, and exactly 71 years ago, the United Nations voted to partition Palestine, thus giving the Jews a territory that they could call home which would later be called Israel.

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From Ford to Amazon - Employers Who Care

Amazon's announcement to increase hourly wages to 350k employees has been mightily commended by the press, as was Henry Ford's announcement a century ago, when assembly-line workers were given an unprecedented $5 a day. Ford wanted to ensure a stable employee base, but also wanted his workers to be able afford the products they produced. While Ford saw a short term decline in profits, in the long run it led to increasingly higher revenue. By making it affordable, he repositioned the “motorcar” from a luxury to something every American--including his own workers-- could own.

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Testimony in Congress - Journey from 1991 to 2018

Then (1991) -- Anita Hill testifies in Congress with allegations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court justice nominee Clarence Thomas. It was the first such hearing of its kind, and thanks to C-SPAN a little-discussed issue was brought to the national discussion.

Now, 27 years later, in the midst of the "Me Too" movement and near-daily exposure of high-profile sexual assault cases, the issue stands to have a permanent impact on every facet of American life. In years ahead, Dr. Christine Ford's testimony will likely be considered as pivotal as Anita Hill's has been since 1991.

Anita Hill on the left and Christine Ford on the right

Anita Hill on the left and Christine Ford on the right