BEIJING, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) -- The Palace Museum, one of the world's most visited tourist attractions, launched an expansion project Wednesday in Haidian District of northwestern Beijing.
The expansion is the core part of a major cultural renovation program calculated to enhance Palace Museum's capacity in exhibiting and conserving cultural heritage.
The on-site geological surveying and archeological prospecting also kicked off at the expansion project, literally known as the "north section project of the Palace Museum."
The north section project will cover an area of 62 hectares, where exhibition halls, cultural heritage conservation workshops, warehouses and other facilities taking up 102,000 square meters, will be built.
When the north section project is finished, the exhibition areas there are expected to display more exhibits than the museum housed in the Forbidden City at the heart of Beijing.
According to Shan Jixiang, the curator of the museum, conservation and protection of cultural heritage will be the most import function of the north section upon its completion, and the process of conservation will be shown to the public.
The Palace Museum's general plan for renovation, approved by the State Council in 2013, has listed seven items for construction.
In addition to the north section project, the Palace Museum will build a new underground warehouse to protect relics in a controlled environment with custom humidity and temperature settings.
The new storage area is expected to be finished in 2020 when the Palace Museum celebrates its 600th anniversary. An underground passage will also be built to connect the two existing warehouses.
Home to the royal court between 1420 and 1912, the Forbidden City now houses more than 1.8 million collections of cultural relics.