BEIJING, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- A list of 17 class-I museums has been published, the State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH) said on Friday.
The National Museum of China, China National Silk Museum, Shanghai Science & Technology Museum and Chongqing Hongyan Revolutionary History Museum are on the list, which is a second batch of class-I museums to be released.
The 17 museums were selected as highest-level museums after an appraisal process organized by the SACH from July to November, the SACH said.
China specifies the museums at class-I, class-II and class-III in accordance with their comprehensive facilities, collections and visitors and capacities for holding exhibitions and providing social services.
China released the first batch of 79 class-I museums in 2008, and pledged to gradually open all its public museums for free.
According to SACH statistics, 1,804 of 3,415 museums and memorial sites were offering free admission at the end of 2011, receiving more than 1.3 billion visitors in three years, the equivalent to China's total population.
The Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Finance also vowed last year to give people free access to public art galleries in two years.