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China had just 25 museums in 1949, and around 350 at the start of the reform era in 1979. Since 2000, though, over 4,000 new museums have been built in the country on a wide range of subjects, such as the history of every province and county, or the silly-sounding “Watermelon Museum” in Beijing. In 2019, China saw 1.2 billion museum visits. What’s driving this museum-building boom, and how do you design a good museum? 

Oranda HOU : Rockart Bund Museum partnership manager
YU Wanying : podcaster about museums (also guest on Middle Earth #16) 
ZHUANG Yongwen : architect and urban designer 

Middle Earth is distributed by The World of Chinese ( Every two months, both in print and online, the team at TWOC takes a contemporary issue in Chinese society and culture and looks behind the headlines to share how it affects people on the ground.  

Middle Earth is made by China Compass Productions. If you have a China-themed cultural project like shooting your next documentary or look for a specific talent, please get in touch! 

With thanks to Sean Calvo for music support. 

author Aladin Farré

Aladin Farré is the founder and host of Middle Earth Podcast and a contributing writer at The World of Chinese.