Discover Chinese Family Letter Museum

2016-11-03 17:16 千龙网

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In the present era with high-tech products like computers, phones, emails, WeChat and Weibo, how long haven’t you written or seen a letter? Nowadays, most of us live a busy life, which leaves little time to enjoy life. In fact, compared to telephones, text messages and emails, family letters are the place where one can express feelings and emotions more fully and also an artwork with envelopes, letter papers, stamps and beautiful handwriting.

Chinese Family Letter Museum, the first museum of collecting family letters in the country, was inaugurated in Renmin University of China on October 26, 2016. It is located on the third floor of the Renmin University of China Museum with an exhibition area of 350 square meters. At present, there are more than 50,000 family letters, of which the oldest is from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and the most recent from 2011, covering a span of four or five hundred years.

The entrance to Chinese Family Letter Museum [Photo/Qianlong]

The Beauty of Letters — An Exhibition of Chinese Family Letters

In the museum, there is a permanent exhibition called “The Beauty of Letters — An Exhibition of Chinese Family Letters”. Altogether 1,000 family letters and 500 old photos are exhibited, sketching the history of cultural development and the evolution of traditional Chinese family letters. The letters are all handwritten pieces and donated by people at home and abroad.

The exhibition comprises nine sections, namely, cultural overview, family letters of the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911), family letters in the Republic of China, family letters in the 1950s, family letters in the 1960s and 1970s, family letters since reform and opening up, family letters across the Straits, overseas family letters and preserving family letters. The letters are displayed chronologically, with some sections by correspondent.


The exhibition hall at Chinese Family Letter Museum [Photo/Qianlong]


The exhibition hall at Chinese Family Letter Museum [Photo/Qianlong]

According to a working staffer of the museum, the family letters are a true reflection of China’s social life and tell the Chinese stories in different periods. For example, many family letters of the Ming and Qing dynasties record historical events and expose one’s personal feelings or opinions towards certain issues, which are of high historical value. As for family letters in the 1950s, the contents are imbued with the era and often discuss the political situation of the time. The family letters from the 1960s and the 1970s convey the warmth and value of family love and affection as well as recording the political campaigns and historical events.


A visitor takes photos of the exhibits at Chinese Family Letter Museum, Nov. 2, 2016. [Photo/Qianlong]

Treasure of the museum: letters written by Chen Duxiu and Liang Qichao


Letters written by Chen Duxiu are displayed at Chinese Family Letter Museum, Nov. 2, 2016. [Photo/Qianlong]


Letters written by Liang Qichao are displayed at Chinese Family Letter Museum, Nov. 2, 2016. [Photo/Qianlong]

The 13 letters written by Chen Duxiu and Liang Qichao were delivered between the working staffers of New Youth’s editorial office, which have been listed in the national first-level cultural relics. Most of these letters were written from 1920 to 1932, and the recipients were Hu Shi, Li Dazhao, Qian Xuantong, Lu Xun, Zhou Zuoren and so on. The letters reflect the New Youth colleagues’ different opinions on the guiding principle of the magazine.


Diaries and manuscripts of Chen Chao, father of Chen Lidan who is a professor of Renmin University of China, are displayed at Chinese Family Letter Museum, Nov. 2, 2016. [Photo/Qianlong]


A “puzzle” letter, written by a woman in Fujian Province to her husband in Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), is displayed at Chinese Family Letter Museum, Nov. 2, 2016. [Photo/Qianlong]


Family newspapers are displayed at Chinese Family Letter Museum, Nov. 2, 2016. [Photo/Qianlong]


A letter written in numbers and pictures by a father to his daughter is displayed at Chinese Family Letter Museum, Nov. 2, 2016. [Photo/Qianlong]

The Study Center of Family Letters

The museum has set up the Study Center of Family Letters, which is committed to collecting, preserving, researching, displaying and promoting the traditional cultural heritage of family letters, as well as constructing the national archive and cultural inheritance base of family letters.

In the future it plans to launch a digital family letter project to produce an oral account of family letters, which tells the stories behind the letters by the authors, recipients or descendants.


The Study Center of Family Letters [Photo/Qianlong]

If you go

Located on the third floor of the Renmin University of China Museum, the museum opens to the public on the afternoons of Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It welcomes the donations of family books, diaries, memoirs and other folk materials. For more information, please call 010-88616101.

责任编辑:Ai Ting(QN0043)