Military Museum of the Chinese People’s Revolution

The Military Museum of the Chinese People’s Revolution 中国人民革命军事博物馆 is part of the Ten Great Buildings built in 1959 on occasion of the celebration of the ten-year anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Construction began in 1958 and was finalized in 1960, with Mao Zedong himself writing the characters of the name of the museum. (Denton 2014: 122). On 1st August 1962, the Chinese People’s Revolutionary Military Museum officially opened to the public, after it had been previewed internally by high-ranking officials such as Zhou Enlai 周恩来 (1898-1976), Zhu De 朱德 (1886-1976) and Deng Xiaoping 邓小平 (1904-1997). In mid-January 1967, due to the impact of the “Cultural Revolution”, the military museum closed. In April 1977, the Chairman Mao Zedong Memorial Exhibition was approved. 

The museum displays military equipment and machinery used by the People’s Liberation Army since the 1920s (see here). It is China’s only large-scale comprehensive military history museum.

Picture 1: Military Museum of the Chinese People’s Revolution

Focusing on the military history the museum consists of six parts: 1. The Victorious Revolution of the Leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (中国共产党领导的革命战争陈列), 2. National Defense and Army Construction in New China (新中国国防和军队建设陈列), 3. Military Weapons (兵器陈列), 4. The Military in Chinese History (中国历代军事陈列), 5. Military Technology (军事科技陈列), and 6. Red Memories—Art Works of the Revolutionary Military (红色记忆—馆藏革命军事艺术作品陈列). The collection consists of more than 340,000 cultural relics. Among them are 1,793 state-level cultural relics, more than 250 large-scale weapons and equipment, more than 1,600 artworks, and 2,551 gifts received during foreign military exchanges.

Picture 2: Type 59 tank

In addition to these, the museum organizes a number of special exhibitions, such as “Using soldiers as Gods—Mao Zedong’s Art of Military Command” 《用兵如神——毛泽东军事指挥艺术》, „History does not forget—Exhibition of the Chinese People’s Fight against Japanese Invasion in the modern era” 《历史不能忘记——近代以来中国人民抗击日本侵略展》or “The cornerstone—Exhibiting the Anti-Japanese fight of the Chinese Communist Party, its leadership and the People’s Army” 《中流砥柱——中国共产党及其领导的人民军队抗日战争主题展》. Another exhibition was organized on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the end of the Long March in 2016 or the 90th anniversary of the foundation of the PLA in 2017 (see here). On December 2, 2017, it was selected as the “Second Batch of Chinese 20th Century Architectural Heritage第二批中国20世纪建筑遗产“.

Picture 3: Type 96 Japanese 25 mm gun

Bibliography

Denton, Kirk A. (2014): Exhibiting the Past: Historical Memory and the Politics of Museum in Postsocialist China. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.

Li Nan 李楠 (2012): Hongse Lüyou – Jing, Jin,  Hu Lüxing Shengdi Daohang 红色旅游 – 京,津,红色旅行圣地导航. Changchun: Jilin Sheying chubanshe. Dianliang xinghuo hongse lüyou xilie congshu.

List of Pictures

Picture 1: Military Museum of the Chinese People’s Revolution (source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Military_Museum_of_the_Chinese_People%27s_Revolution_201709.jpg, author: Tyg728 [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)])

Picture 2: Type 59 tank (source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Type_59_tank_-_front_right.jpg, author: Max Smith [Public domain]).

Picture 3: Type 96 Japanese 25 mm gun (source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Type_96_Japanese_25_mm_gun_-_Beijing_Museum.jpg, author: Max Smith [Public domain]).

 


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