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Date:August 14, 2018- August 15, 2018


City museums are an important category of museums, reflecting the development history and current situation of the most important human settlements. The urban culture, art and custom displayed in museums in capital cities are of typical significance for a country. In August 2018, the Capital Museum, the Shenyang Palace Museum, the Edo-Tokyo Museum and the Seoul Museum of History held the "China-Japan-ROK International Conference on Museum Studies". 

The joint collaboration, which has lasted for 16 years, has accrued great achievements in the exploration of development for museums of capital cities. Also, its vision is more in tune with the new trend of international museums, which can be seen in the theme of the conference this year - "‘Hyperconnections' of Museums under the Context of Capital Studies". 

In 2002, the museums in the capitals cities of China, Japan and Republic of Korea jointly initiated an exchange mechanism for the museums in capital cities of the three countries. Through the annual international conference on museum studies, the museums of the three countries exchange ideas and open channels of cooperation. 

In 2007, the Shenyang Palace Museum joined in the partnership to form the current interactive exchange mode among the four sister museums. In the 16 years, under the framework of the China-Japan-ROK International Conference on Museum Studies, the museums of the three countries have maintained communication and personnel exchanges not only in academia but also in exhibition planning. 

In 2013, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of sister cities between Beijing and Seoul, the Capital Museum and the Seoul Museum of History held exchanged exhibitions, including the "3000 years of Beijing: a Journey of Acceptance and Tolerance", organized by the Capital Museum, and the"Seoul, A City of Streams: The Changing Fortunes of Cheonggyecheon", arranged by the Seoul Museum of History. The exhibitions facilitated cross-border exchanges of local knowledge, and promoted the mutual understanding of people from the two capitals. 

From 2017 to 2018, the Capital Museum and the Edo-Tokyo Museum, through the"Edo and Beijing: Cities and Urban Life in the 18th Century", have deepened the cooperation mechanism. The Capital Museum opened its storage to its counterparts in Tokyo and assigned personnel to conduct academic exchanges in a bid to complete the planning work of the exhibition together. The inauguration of this exhibition in Beijing is one of the highlights of this conference. Uninterrupted over the last 16 years, museum staff of the three countries have maintained their exchanges and continued their sharing of museum management as well as making the conference an annual event. 

From the early cooperation in the beginning of the 21st century to the deepened cooperation today, the museum staffs of the four countries shouldered the responsibility of bringing city museums to people's lives. The research, collection and display of museums can reflect every aspect of history. Therefore, the development of the museum requires museum staff to reach a higher level of reflection. Taking the theme of"Resource Sharing and Academic Cooperation—‘Hyper connections' of Museums in the Context of Capital Studies", this conference highlighted the characteristics of city museums and increased the current missions of museums in capital cities. 

Moreover, by further exploring the theme of the International Museum Day - "Hyperconnected Museums: New Approaches, New Publics", "Museum Missions under the Context of Capital Studies" were included in the discussion, as a way to offer a reflection on realizing the integration of historical culture and capital functions in the new era by staff in the museums located in current capitals and historical capitals. 

This international conference can be distinguished from the previous ones in two aspects: First, the conference was not only attended by museum staff, but also by linguists and experts of local studies. Meanwhile, the conference was supported by the Institute of Beijing Studies and the Beijing Language and Culture University. Second, it succeeded in inviting the National Museum Bangkok of Thailand as the representative of museum staff in Southeast Asia, thus extending the original cooperation mechanism to Southeast Asia. 

As the host of this international conference, the Capital Museum advocated the establishment of a "Capital City Museum Union" to absorb the involvement of museums in capital cities in Asia and around the world in a bid to jointly explore better ways to realize the current functions of museums in capital cities, to encourage the construction of city museums for the development of capital cities, to shoulder the responsibility of building a community of shared future for mankind and to make city life better.

The conference has received nine excellent papers from the four museums and experts and scholars of the Beijing Union University. They discussed from the perspectives of their respective research fields and institute missions their understanding of the "hyperconnection" methods between museums and society in the context of"capital studies", including practice summary based on theoretical research and applied research on new things and new approaches. All these have manifested the scholastic style of diligent practice, independent thinking and pioneering novelty. Discussions from people of various cities, countries and specialties are of great importance for the future practice and development of museums.

We look forward to the further development of the China-Japan-ROK cooperation mechanism, to the practicing of "hyperconnected" museums in the context of capital studies, and to the display of civilizations of capital cities in the world to the international community.

Click to view the full text of the Statements of the Curators' Roundtable

Click to view the full text of the Speech delivered by Bai Jie, President of Capital Museum, on August 15, 2018

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