As a result of the spread of the coronavirus, museums in China are now holding online exhibitions. They have been temporarily closed to visitors to avoid the cross-infection of COVID-19 that can arise from gatherings of people.

The Forbidden City in Beijing
Forbidden City in Beijing is closed to visitors © z hangshuang/Getty Images

The new respiratory disease started in the city of Wuhan and has spread rapidly through the region and around the world. It has now been deemed a global public health emergency by the United Nations agency. To enable museums to carry on providing cultural enrichment in an alternative form, the National Cultural Heritage Administration is encouraging them to hold online exhibitions and utilise existing cultural digital resources.

Rows of terracotta warriors at Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum
Terracotta warriors at Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum © DuKai photographer/Getty Images

These exhibitions are available in one location on the National Cultural Heritage Administration's website, which is only available to those inside mainland China. However, 100 online exhibitions and galleries are linked from this website and they are accessible to people everywhere. This is likely to be welcomed by visitors at home and abroad, as exhibitions held during the week-long annual Spring Festival are normally a big draw.

The National Museum of China in Beijing, China
The National Museum of China will have an online exhibition ©testing/Shutterstock

As an example of what is on offer, the Spring Festival exhibition by the Palace Museum in Beijing, also known as Forbidden City, can now be found online here. You can check out the famous terracotta warriors at the Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum in Xi'an here. The National Museum of China in Beijing is also offering the digital version of its latest exhibition, The Journey Back Home: An Exhibition of Chinese Artifacts Repatriated from Italy, hereThe Capital Museum in Beijing, the Suzhou Museum in Suzhou and the Hunan Provincial Museum in Changsha are among the institutions offering their galleries digitally.

For further information on the exhibitions that are available digitally, check out the National Cultural Heritage Administration's website here.

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