China’s Palace Museum Limiting Visitors to Avoid Tragedy

The world’s most popular museum by visitor numbers, the Palace Museum in China, has decided that it needs to limit the amount of people passing through its gates each day to safeguard the ancient monument.

The Palace Museum consists of the grounds and artifacts of the Forbidden City in Beijing. Sitting in the heart of China’s capital, the palace complex was the seat of imperial power from the Ming to Qing Dynasties and is the country’s biggest tourist attraction.

According to Chinese media, more than 15 million people went to the Palace Museum in 2014, the number exceeds any other museum in the world. The Louvre in Paris received 9.2 million visitors in comparison.

The Palace Museum’s director, Shan Jixiang, said on January 27 that he has proposed capping the daily visitor number at 80,000 to protect the buildings from damage. Last year, the museum saw seven days where visitor numbers surpassed 100,000, according to state news agency Xinhua

Shan referred to Shanghai’s fatal New Year’s Eve stampede as a cautionary tale in crowd control. The tragedy that resulted in 36 deaths was due to an overwhelming number of people and inadequate crowd control measures, said Shan. 

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