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Xixi wetland museum helps expand China's environmental knowledge
Article type: Redistributed 2020-05-20 Font Size:[ S M L ] [Print] [Close]

By Ma Zhenhuan

For most people, wetland areas are not just havens of tranquillity, but also serve as platforms to learn about biodiversity and local ecosystems. In this case, a museum devoted to the care, study and display of wetland elements would be a great help.

The National Wetland Museum of China, located in the southeast of the Xixi National Wetland Park in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang province, is the country's first wetland-themed museum.

Founded in 2009, over the past decade it has become a professional institution with a comprehensive collection of exhibits related to wetland ecosystems.

The museum was designed by Japanese architect and winner of the 2019 Pritzker Architecture Prize, Arata Isozaki, who is quite familiar with both Eastern and Western cultures. It is built on a green hill in the Xixi Wetland Park, along with a 30-meter-high observation tower, which allows tourists to overlook the whole of the park.

Inside the museum, more than 360 exhibits are set out with a four-story 7,800-square-meter exhibition space.

From the basement to the third floor, it is divided into four main halls, showcasing the museum preface, wetlands and humans, China's wetlands and Xixi wetland, respectively.

The plant, insect and animal specimens on display, and the verdant natural interior landscapes throughout the museum present the anatomy of wetland areas, what threats they are facing and what measures are being taken, both globally and domestically, to protect wetlands in a systematic way.

There are not only static exhibits, but also audio and video installations, as well as other dynamic displays.

The museum has also dedicated a hall to highlight the natural scenery, countryside lifestyle and folk customs of the Xixi Wetland from the past to the present day, as well as the efforts to protect and develop the wetland.

In recent years, the museum has been working on the extension of its functions. Besides being an exhibition space and repository for wetland knowledge, it has developed into a base for research and education.

According to the museum's official website, academic research has always been regarded as one of the bedrocks for the sustainable development of the wetland. For the past decade, researchers have been trying to transpose academic results into knowledge that can be generally shared with the public.

On Jan 30, the National Wetland Museum of China launched a wetland plant database, an online platform where the features of, and stories about, 2,169 kinds of plants growing in China's wetland areas are presented and explained.

Researchers and volunteers at the museum spent five years collecting the information and pictures in order to build a free system for those who are interested in learning more about the biodiversity of the nation's wetlands and to help them find reliable information more easily.

Based on the China Wetland Plant Database, the museum aims to promote scientific education by organizing online courses and developing internet games.

In recent years, to build closer ties with the community, the museum has joined hands with schools in Hangzhou to establish "museums on campus", a service platform to educate teenagers about environmental protection and green development.

The National Wetland Museum of China sticks to the philosophy of "harmonious development of humans and nature", and organizes exhibitions and activities to promote this philosophy, such as a 2019 exhibition showcasing art created using recycled junk.

Joyce Msuya, deputy executive director of the UN Environment Program, visited the museum in June 2019 and left the message "Peace, People & Planet" to commend the museum's efforts in raising people's awareness of environmental protection.

Source:China Daily Global