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#iDiscoverChina / City Guides / Guides

Stay young and optimistic: A story of the Capital Museum’s Youth Guides

By Wang Zhe, Zhang Xun

August 10

In the Capital Museum in Beijing, there is a special team called the “Youth” Guide Team. It is made up of 18 retirees with an average age of 57.

In the Capital Museum in Beijing, there is a special team called the “Youth” Guide Team. It is made up of 18 retirees with an average age of 57.

The Capital Museum in Beijing has a “Youth Guide Team” made up of 18 retirees—the team’s average age is 57.

The Youth Guide Team was established in the end of 2017 after six months of screening and training recruits. The retirees only work for half a day. According to Yang Dandan, the director of the museum’s department of publicity, education and cooperation, the team was established to provide those retirees with an additional source of income. The guides’ hard-work and enthusiasm left a deep impression for her. “Due to the aging population in China, the retirees in fact are in the prime of their lives and cherish reemployment.” She added, “Their rich life experience gives them a profound understanding of the museum’s importance, which makes them unique guides.”

At a hall exhibiting statues of Buddha, 61-year-old guide Zhang Lin is popular with visitors. After retiring from Petro China, a state-owned oil and gas company, as a front-line manager, he did not want to give up his ideals. Spreading culture and historical knowledge gives him a sense of fulfillment. He told to us, “If I can stay healthy, I would like to continue being a guide and contribute to the culture industry.”

After lunch, Zhao Jingrong, 50, stood waiting for visitors. She had just retired from a job in finance in February, and her decision to be a museum guide was influenced by her son. “My son liked to visit museums when he was a child, and I gradually became interested in Chinese history and culture while taking him to museums. Each time a child asks me why they should see these exhibitions, I tell them that a person can only know where to go in life if they know where they come from.” Zhao Jingrong said she also hopes that she can influence more children and parents to love Chinese culture.

Yang, the museum’s director, claimed that the reason the group is called the “Youth Guide Team” is to reflect a sense of optimism and youthful energy in their roles. The museum plans to hire another group of retirees as guides in the future as well.

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