MUSEUMS The Critic At Large … (No. 17)

Posted by on 9. November 2011
China's National Museum

China's National Musem – very big, but not big enough ...

The Smithonian Institution

... the Smithonian Institution is bigger!

Since the first emperor ascended the throne, the Chinese chase world records: the oldest, the longest, the highest, the noblest, the most … – in these days they claim to have the biggest museum of all times, their National Museum in Beijing (photo above). True – the architects from Hamburg, Gerkan, Marg + Partner, enlarged it to 195 000 squaremeters, now it is the biggest museum building in the world indeed. 20 000 people fit into the entry lounge alone. Yes, this means world record! But largest museum? No way. The Smithonian Institution in Washington D.C. hords 142 mio. objects in 18 museums and galleries, 9 of them along the National Mall (see picture) in the American capital. That’s a much better world record for a museum. The exibits count, not the sizes of the buildings. But naturally both museums are worth visiting, the Chinese you can do in one day, for the Smithonian you need your whole life and I advise you strongly, to prepare yourself in the Internet first …

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