The Palace Museum in Beijing is planning to construct a new underground warehouse to house relics in a controlled environment, according to its director.
Shan Jixiang, director of the Palace Museum, told Xinhuanet that the new warehouse will have 8,285sqm of space and include humidity and temperature controls that can be customised for different areas.
The warehouse will also be equipped with better waterproofing measures to protect artworks as well as special protective cases to protect relics from earthquakes.
The museum already has two underground warehouses for relics with around 21,000sqm of storage space. They were completed in 1991 and 1997 respectively. The now dated climate controls in these warehouses mean that all of the artefacts must be stored at the same temperature and humidity.
The two current warehouses house approximately 970,000 relics, with a further 800,000-plus items stored in buildings above ground.
The Palace Museum is expected to complete the construction of the new storage area in 2020. An underground passage will also be built to connect the warehouses.
Jixiang announced earlier this year that the museum will open a further 51,000sqm of floor space by 2020. The extra space will bring the total open area of the museum up to 85% with the new area to be dedicated to ancient architecture. Security and monitoring systems will also be updated during this time.
Located in the Forbidden City in Beijing, the Palace Museum opened to the public in 1925. It has averaged more than 15 million visitors since 2012 and topped 16 million for the first time in 2016. In 2017, the Palace Museum received nearly 16.7 million visitors, a 4.3% increase on the previous year.