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China to Build Three More Ecological Museums

DATELINE: GUIYANG, February 16, 2000

China will build three more ecological museums in southwest China's Guizhou province in the next two years, following the success of the first "museum without walls" set up there in 1998.

According to provincial officials, construction of the three museums is a major part of a Sino-Norwagian cultural cooperation program.

The ecological emphasis is a new concept in museums which aims to protect the natural and cultural legacy of communities.

There are now more than 300 ecological museums worldwide, most of them located in Europe and North America. The first was built in France in 1971.

China's first ecological museum, the Suoga Miao Ethnic Group Ecological Museum, opened in October 1998 to protect the folk culture of the Changjiao Miao ethnic group, a branch of the Miao nationality.

The three museums under construction in this underdeveloped province feature unique cultural styles and customs of different ethnic groups living there.

The first is the Buyi Ethnic Group Ecological Museum. The village, with a history of over 400 years, was a fortress during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

The second is the Ancient Longli City Ecological Museum. Because of its isolated position, the 600-year-old city was well preserved and villagers have preserved their unique traditions.

The last is the Anzhai Dong Ethnic Ecological Museum, where Miao people's peculiar huts and bridges are well cared for and their folk songs are tourist attractions.