BEIJING - China's National Museum, lying to the east of Tian'anmen Square in central Beijing, reopened Tuesday after more than three years of renovations.
As part of the renovations, the museum has been expanded to 191,900 square meters with 49 exhibition rooms, reportedly making it the largest museum in the world.
The museum now holds a collection of more than 1 million pieces of cultural relics, according to the museum's official website.
One of the museum's most valuable collections is Si Muwu bronze quadrate vessel, 1.33 meters high and about 833kg in weight, dating back to about 3,500 years ago.
From Tuesday to March 16, the museum is only open to visitors in groups but from March 17 both group and individual visitors can enter.
A maximum of 3,000 visitors will be allowed in each day, including 2,000 visitors in groups and 1,000 individuals, said a statement on the website.
Group visitors will need to book in advance while individuals can get tickets at the entrance, the statement said.
The museum will host two regular exhibitions, one featuring ancient China and the other about Chinese history since the Opium War in 1840, said Huang Chen, a publicity official with the museum.
Admission for the two exhibitions is likely to be free, he said.
The museum has planned to host several special exhibitions on Chinese ancient art, such as bronze, porcelain, jade articles, Buddhist statues, furniture of Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911), ink painting and calligraphy, he said.
"The museum will hold various functions. And, besides holding exhibitions, we will conduct archeological research, provide education services for the public and carry out cultural exchanges with other museums," Huang said.
The new museum has a theater with 800 seats, a conference hall with 300 seats and a studio with an area of 600 square meters.
In the conference hall, visitors can also watch digital films or documentaries, Huang said.
The museum also has a large space for visitors to experience history and traditional arts through interactive programs.
The museum's renovations started in March 2007 and finished at the end of last year. The entire project cost 2.5 billion yuan (about $367 million).