Special museum is custodial center of prized memories of villagers

By Yuan Shenggao| (China Daily)| Updated : 2018-05-15

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A special museum holding the secrets and memories of a village opened its doors recently.

It was built to preserve documents containing family trees and anecdotes that have cultural and historical value to Hebei community, in Xincheng subdistrict in the Weifang Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone.

More than 500 old items are currently on display at the museum, which opened on Feb 17.

Zhang Chuanlai, 39, is the proud owner of two sewing machines displayed in the museum.

"The machines are 34 years old and were the first sewing machines in Hebei," Zhang said.

Zhang recalled how his mother worked into the nights before every Spring Festival to tailor new clothes for local villagers in the 1980s and 1990s.

The sewing machines served Zhang's family until recent years, when they moved from the old buildings in the shanty quarters to new apartments in 2012.

Residents in Hebei community have experienced seven relocations since 2005, and all the old buildings in the community were removed by May 1 last year.

Though the residents enjoy their new lives in the high-rise buildings, they want to preserve some old items, which represent local traditions and culture.

The decision to build a village museum in Hebei community was announced in June 2017. The residents were excited when they heard about it and donated many old items. Besides the old sewing machines, there is the first black and white TV, the first radio, ancient contracts dating back to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and old photos of Hebei primary school.

Zhang Jingui, a resident in Hebei, visited the new village on Feb 17 and took many photos. She wanted to show them to her son, who is studying overseas.

"I want to show him how his parents earned a living and how to make a good life," Zhang said.

Fellow villager Zhang Huaqing, Party chief of Hebei community, has also taken a keen interest.

"Every part of the village history has a story and we are the protagonists in the stories," Zhang opined.

"The museum will help our children to remember the history and pass on our traditions."

Wang Weidong contributed to this story.


(China Daily 03/13/2018 page12)