By Alison Fox
February 05, 2020
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A sign announces the closure of the Forbidden City as part of efforts to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, in Beijing on February 4, 2020.
GREG BAKER/Getty Images

This year’s deadly coronavirus outbreak has gripped China, forcing many people to hunker down and stay out of public places during what has typically been a busy travel time. But while many businesses remain closed, some of China’s most popular museums are moving their exhibits to a new place to be enjoyed: online.

The move comes as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases continues to rise, reaching as high as 24,604 as of Wednesday, with 494 deaths, Forbes reported.

Museums like the Palace Museum in the Forbidden City in Beijing have made their galleries virtual, viewable for those in China who cannot travel to see it in person, CNN reported. The Forbidden City is celebrating its 600th anniversary this year, but said on Jan. 23 that it would be closed until further notice due to the contagious coronavirus.

A virtual tour of the famed Palace Museum is available online, as is an exhibit on the Spring Festival from the Forbidden City in ancient China.

Similarly, the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall is also offering people the chance to virtually walk around the facility, much like how Google Street View functions.

While some exhibits can only be viewed on the National Cultural Heritage Administration's website from mainland China, 100 exhibitions are available online through a pair of government websites (here and here).

According to CNN, China's National Cultural Heritage Administration said in January that it wanted to “encourage cultural heritage museums and institutions around the country to utilize existing digital resources and launch online exhibitions as appropriate, providing the public with safe and convenient online services."

The availability of the platform “will promote the combination of new technology and inheritance of our country's cultural heritage and gather resources of the museums through 'cloud' displays," the NCHA said in a statement, according to CNN.