Beijing teenagers to learn relic restoration at Forbidden City under new program
Thirty middle school graduates in Beijing will learn how to preserve and restore cultural relics directly from specialists at the Forbidden City from this year, leading to a bachelor’s degree, reported Beijing Daily.
The Collections of the Palace Museum, a national museum based in the Forbidden City, Beijing Union University and Beijing International Vocational Education School have jointly launched a pilot project to train specialized craftsmen with a major in relic protection and repairing.
With the experimental project being approved Tuesday, 30 middle school students with registered residence in Beijing have been admitted. They are promised bachelor’s degree if they could finish the program and pass all exams.
A documentary on relics craftsmen working for the Forbidden City has become an instant success and helped more people in the country learn about the seemingly obscure profession.
Experts have warned in recent years that talents in the profession are falling short of demand.
The relic restoration department with the Forbidden City is quoted as saying that for the current staff to restore existing cultural relics, it would take more than 100 years. Based on the country’s first national survey of movable historical relics, among the whole of 108,150,000 objects, 37.12 percent is in need of restoration.
A cultural relic restorer with the Collections of the Palace Museum told the reporter that previously new employees in his department were mostly people in their thirties and it would be challenging for them to acquire the capability of hand-eye coordination which is crucial for craftsmen. “Their hands get clumsy with stiff fingers,” he said.
From 2015, the Forbidden City joined hands with Beijing International Vocational Education School to establish a cultural relic restoration major, and has admitted 35 students till now. However, with lower academic requirements, graduates from the program could hardly fill a position in Forbidden City’s museum.
Now, the three institutions’ joint pilot project is supposed to address the problem. The new program would demand at least seven year’s training and learning period. 


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