The Changjiang Civilization Museum, Wuhan, China

The Changjiang Civilization Museum (Wuhan Natural History Museum)

The Changjiang Civilization Museum (Wuhan Natural History Museum) is a non-profitable public welfare cultural organization that collects, displays, and studies artifacts and specimens related to the natural ecology and historic civilization of the Changjiang River and even the world’s great rivers. It is located in the core area of Wuhan Garden Expo Park, north to the Jing Hill with the aroma of tea plantations and south to the Chushui Creek with glistening light of waves. In the broad sense, the Wuhan Natural History Museum consists of three parts, including the Changjiang Civilization Museum, Behring River & Life Museum, and the natural landscape of The 10th China (Wuhan) International Garden Expo (the Garden Expo park). The Garden Expo park and the Changjiang Civilization Museum had been completed and opened to public since September 25, 2015, while the Behring River & Life Museum has been officially opened to public since July 18th, 2018.

The Changjiang Civilization Museum

The Changjiang Civilization Museum was jointly established by the Municipal People’s Government of Wuhan, Changjiang Water Resource Commission of the Ministry of Water Resources, and Wuhan University. The construction was started on November 13th, 2013 and completed by September 25th, 2015. With a gross area of 31,000 square meters and an exhibition area about 12,800 square meters, the museum is divided into four parts, namely, the Preface, the Natural Hall, the Humanity Hall, and the Fantastic Changjiang Hall (a four dimensional experience center). So far, the Changjiang Civilization Museum has 12864 pieces of collections.

The Changjiang Civilization Museum offers a permanent exhibition themed “A song of the Changjiang River and a journey of civilization” to visitors. By focusing on the concept of “water nourishes human beings, human beings create civilizations, and civilizations integrate with ecology”, the museum intensively demonstrates the natural ecology and historic civilization of the Changjiang River using typical artifacts and specimens about the Changjiang Basin. Among the exhibits, there are specimens of endangered animals like giant panda and Chinese sturgeon, and artifacts representing different regional cultures along the Changjiang River, for example, the Bashu Culture, Jingchu Culture, and Wuyue Culture.

The Fantastic Changjiang Hall is considered a piece of innovation in Chinese museum sector. Where, visitors could experience the natural beauty and cultural essence in different regions and history periods of the Changjiang River during a 10-minute trip.

By the end of 2018, the Changjiang Civilization Museum had welcomed 2.6 million visitors free of charge. The museum has been awarded the “National Water Education Base” by the Ministry of Water Resources, and “National Middle and Primary School Study and Experience Base” by the Ministry of Education, and won the title of Provincial (Municipal) Patriotism Education Base of Hubei Province and Wuhan City respectively. The permanent exhibition themed “A song of the Changjiang River and a journey of civilization” won the “Best Award” in the 14th National Top Ten Museum Exhibitions (2016) and the “Best Award” in the 2016 Hubei Provincial Museum Top Six Exhibitions. It was well received by its peers and visitors. Particularly worth mentioning was that UNESCO highly recognized the outstanding contribution made by the Changjiang Civilization Museum and awarded it a certificate of appreciation.

Wuhan Natural History Museum Behring River & Life Museum

The Wuhan Natural History Museum • Behring River & Life Museum is situated to the north of the Changjiang Civilization Museum. Its gross area is 29,000 square meters, of which, 18,000 square meters is the exhibition area. At the entrance of the museum, there is an honorary wall for Mr. Behring and a guide service area. The Museum has three floors. Its ground floor comprises a preface hall, a Vicissitudes of Rivers hall, a River & Life hall, and a collection storeroom and a specimen restoration room. The second floor comprises a River Meditation hall, an Exploring Great Rivers area, a Behring World Shop, and a coffee shop. On the third floor, there is a temporary exhibition hall, a science space, and the staff office. The permanent exhibition “a journey to great rivers and a concerto of lives” takes great rivers as the background, lives as the theme, animal specimens donated by Mr. Behring as the basis, makes the dialogues between the Changjiang River and the great rivers of the world as exhibition concept, focuses on important content of the great rivers, living things and human beings, makes full use of nearly 3000 pieces of paleontological, animal and plant specimens through modern means of exhibition, displaying geological background and the life history of rivers related to the great rivers, biodiversity, connection and difference of the world’s representative rivers, and the natural law of ecosystem succession change and life evolution, so as to raise people’s consciousness on the concern, love and protection of great rivers.

According to the national positioning of Wuhan City as a shipping center in the middle reaches of the Changjiang River, a large city in the Changjiang River economic belt and a core node city, the Wuhan Natural History Museum • Behring River & Life Museum will always insist on the people-oriented principle, shoulder responsibilities for the research and protection of natural resources, ecological environment and biodiversity, strive to build the museum one of the best natural science museums being first-class in China and in the world with rich connotation, distinctive features, and make its own contribution to meet people’s growing needs for a better life and realizing the Chinese dream.



Animals and Plants Living in the World’s Major River Basins

Description of the project:

In order to give full play to the social education function of the museum and let people have a comprehensive and scientific understanding of the flora and fauna of the world’s great rivers, we have selected the most characteristic and popular animal and plant specimens from the Wuhan Natural History Museum to write a series of books themed “The Riverside Spirit”. The books are written based on the natural geographical connections of the world’s ten famous rivers, including the Amazon River, the Mississippi River, the Yenisei River, the Changjiang River, the Yellow River, the Ganges River, the Mekong River, the Murray River, the Danube River, and the Nile River. Out of the footsteps of Africa, the seven series tells the story of the flora and fauna of the Great Rivers, namely, “Free Life on the Desert Steppe”, “The Great Beast of the Asian Rainforest”, “Ancient Creature on the Red Land”, “The Rare Birds at the Doorstep”, “The White Animal Kingdom of the Polar Region”, “The Ecological Cornerstone of the Riverbank Forest”, and “The Biological Paradise of the South American Rainforest”. These are not only a set of natural enlightenment books, but also a reference book to help parents answer 100,000 questions from their children. It is also a popular science book for animal and plant enthusiasts to deeply explore the stories behind life. We hope that through these books, we will further arouse people’s concern to rivers, care for nature, cherishing life and yearning for a better life.

Water Education Series Activities

The Changjiang Civilization Museum (Wuhan Natural History Museum) is a national water education base. It is an inescapable responsibility for the museum to carry out rich and colorful water education activities for the public.

  • Conducting water education lectures from time to time to promote the development of water science popularization activities;
  • Having prepared and printed textbooks related to water education, subscribed publicity materials such as World Water Day and China Water Week to disseminate water knowledge, promote water culture, and enhance youngsters’ environmental awareness;
  • Utilizing new media and other channels to promote water laws and regulations, water saving knowledge, and relevant content of river management system, so as to strengthen water education;
  • Comprehensively using physical objects, models, exhibition boards, multimedia presentation systems, and organizing “World Water Day and China Water Week” activities for primary and secondary school students to deepen their understanding on water and environmental protection;

Through the exhibition storytelling, award-winning knowledge quiz, interactive experience facilities, the natural ecologies and human civilizations of the Changjiang River Basin and world’s great river basins are popularized among primary and secondary school students;

Voyage of Discovering Great River Civilizations

In order to enable the audience to better understand the natural ecology and human civilization of the Changjiang River Basin, we have successively launched various social educational activities such as “voyage of discovering Great River Civilizations”, “water education”, “combining training inside and outside the museum.

Voyage of Discovering Great River Civilizations:

  • Having developed a series of courses on Great River Civilizations and trained a teacher team in the museum;
  • Having developed and designed “great river civilization” series textbooks, assisting the implementation of research and learning activities in the museum;
  • Having enhanced people’s awareness over the activities of our voyage of discovering great river civilizations through online new media publicity and offline publicity, and strengthened the spread of knowledge on great river civilizations;
  • Having invited well-known scholars to make lectures on the Great River Lecture Room, so that young people can better understand great river civilizations and their love for the river and natural civilization was aroused thereafter.

The Great Rivers Forum

Description: in particular related to n.6 “Water and Sanitation”

The Great Rivers Forum (GRF) has been established as a non-governmental and non-profit international platform of high-level exchanges and cooperation. GRF is designed to be held once every two years. The first GRF was held from September 19 to 21, 2016 in Wuhan, China, with the theme of Evolution and Sustainable Development of River Civilization. The second GRF was held from October 28 to 30, 2018 in Wuhan China, with the theme of Confluences — High Quality Development for a Sustainable Future.

The forum serves as an international platform for dialogue among experts and managers from various disciplines and origins, anchored in the values promoted by the 2001 UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity. It offers a unique opportunity for people to exchange ideas and share experiences. The engagement in this cooperative effort of sister cities and UNESCO networks, including World Heritage sites, Creative Cities and Biosphere Reserves, but also Ecohydrology Pilot Sites, contributes to boosting high-quality development along great rivers, paying particular attention to their ecological and cultural environment. Moreover, participants and partners have the opportunity to explore the role that great river civilizations play in working towards the achievement of a more sustainable world, leaving no one behind.

Upon the conclusion of the 2018 GRF, the organizers released An Agenda for Action as follows:

We, participants in the 2018 Great Rivers Forum, confirm our interest and will to engage in further cooperative efforts on some of the key issues identified during the 2018 Great Rivers Forum. Such initiatives could be undertaken with the support of the Great River Civilizations Research Center established at the Changjiang Civilization Museum, and within the framework for cooperation offered by some of the major cultural and environmental programmes of UNESCO and their interconnected networks, among which more synergies should be developed:

  • World Heritage Convention, the list of natural and cultural world heritage sites, the network of creative cities and the heritage cities programme, as well as the UNESCO – ICCROM capacity-building and training programme;
  • The Man and the Biosphere Programme and its World Network of Biosphere Reserves;
  • The Geosciences Programme and the network of UNESCO Global Geoparks;
  • The International Hydrological Programme, its World’s Large Rivers Initiative, Ecohydrology initiative and related demosites, and Global Network of Water Museums.

UNESCO Category 2 Centers and Chairs dedicated to these issues, in particular the UNESCO Chair “Fleuves et Patrimoine – River Culture” at the University of Tours, France.