Episode #1213

China Takes Over the (Art) World

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Friday, April 01, 2011

National Museum of China, soldier The National Museum of China, grandly situated on Tiananmen Square, reopens on April 1, 2011, after three years of expansion and renovation. (Jocelyn Ford)

The corridors are so long, you may want to bring extra shoes. China’s newly-expanded National Museum is now the world’s largest museum — what does it say about the country’s cultural ambitions? And we’ll meet rising pop star Marsha Ambrosius. Her R&B sound is smooth and sexy, but her songs are sometimes caustic, and she’s upsetting the status quo with a very personal video about a taboo subject.

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Michael from Studio 360

Hi Dorothy,

Thanks for checking up on our reporting! WikiAnswers is a great site, that harnesses the knowledge of lots of people to try to provide the best answers to questions. But arriving at those answers is a discussion and a process, in which multiple possible answers surface along the way. That process can grow complicated when determining something like the world's largest museum, in which varying criteria (exhibit space, total complex size, total square feet) may be used.

We chose to use a single museum building's exhibit space as the criteria, and the online magazine ArtInfo as one source. In a February 28, 2011 article written by Tom Chen, the National Museum is placed as the largest, with the Met in second, and the Hermitage third:


We followed up with a phone call to the Met, and a representative confirmed the size reported in the ArtInfo article.

Today's New York Times (published yesterday online) also reports a design process for the renovation very similar to the one surmised by Kurt, in which architects and officials checked the size of other significant institutions, while striving to create the largest museum in the world:


And if you check in on the discussion associated with the WikiAnswers site you mentioned in your comment, you'll see that one of the contributors wrote 2 1/2 years ago that the National Museum would become the world's largest museum, when complete.

Thanks again for listening, and for keeping us on our toes!



Apr. 04 2011 11:00 AM
Dorothy from Manhattan

You implied/I inferred that you think the Met was, until completion of the China museum, the largest museum in the world. I've never heard/read the Met making such a claim. So I googled and found that the Hermitage holds the record. And the Smithsonian is the largest museum complex in the world.

What a bizarre error!

Apr. 03 2011 11:06 AM

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