4 Incredible Museums You Must Visit in China

Have you visited your local museum lately? Soon you may have the opportunity to do so for free. “国际博物馆日 (Guójì bówùguǎn rì) International Museum Day (IMD)” is an internationally celebrated day on or around 18 May. Each year, museums across the globe are invited to participate in IMD to promote the role of museums, which creates unique, enjoyable and free activities highlighting a theme chosen by the ICOM community for this special day. The theme changes annually and is the center of the international museum community’s attention. The theme chosen for 2018 is “Hyperconnected museums: New approaches, New publics.” In 2017, more than 36,000 museums in 157 countries participated in the event. China was also one of the participating countries including 97 museums in Beijing. To celebrate International Museum Day, here are some of the top museums in China that you must visit within your lifetime.

1. Beijing: The Palace Museum 故宫博物院 (Gùgōng bówùyuàn)
HSK 3 quiz

The art collections of ”故宫博物院 (gùgōng bówùyuàn) the Palace Museum” are located in the Forbidden City in Beijing. Today, there are more than a million rare and valuable works of art in the permanent collection of the Palace Museum including valuable cultural relics. Many artifacts come from imperial collections from the Ming and Qing dynasties. Built from 1406 to 1420, the complex consists of 980 surviving buildings with 8,707 rooms and covers 720,000 square meters. One popular exhibit I would recommend is “清明上河图 (qīngmíng shànghé tú) Along the River During the Qingming Festival,” a vivid display of the daily life and landscape of the Song dynasty. The painting is regarded as the most renowned work with a nickname “China’s Mona Lisa.” This panoramic paintings presents the lifestyle of all walks of life as well as different economic activities in rural and city areas, and offer glimpses of period clothing and architecture.

2. Beijing: National Museum of China 中国国家博物馆 (Zhōngguó guójiā bówùguǎn)
HSK 3 quiz

The National Museum of China ”中国国家博物馆 (Zhōngguó guójiā bówùguǎn)” is one of the largest museums in the world. This museum is known to have more than eight million visitors annually, which makes it the second-most visited art museum in the world, just after the Louvre in Paris. The history in this museum spans 1.7 million years ago to the end of the Qing Dynasty and has a permanent collection of 1,050,000 items. It’s massive, like many of the Chinese museums, so make sure to wear comfortable shoes for walking.

3. Shanghai: Shanghai Museum 上海博物馆 (Shànghǎi bówùguǎn)
HSK 3 quiz

The Shanghai Museum “上海博物馆 (Shànghǎi bówùguǎn),” located in Shanghai, China, is considered one of China’s first world-class modern museums. Interestingly, some of its art pieces were gathered by the Communist 3rd Field Army during the civil war from accidental finds and confiscations of private property and brought to Shanghai upon the Communists’ conquest of the city. The building is designed in the shape of an ancient bronze cooking vessel called a “ding.” The building has a round top and a square base, symbolizing the ancient Chinese perception of the world as “天圆地方 (tiān yuán dì fāng) round sky, square earth.”

4. Zhejiang: Zhejiang Provincial Museum 浙江省博物馆 (Zhèjiāng shěng bówùguǎn)
HSK 3 quiz

Located in Hangzhou, China, situated in the West Lake Cultural Square, this museum has 4 floors. 3 of the levels are dedicated to primarily Chinese pottery and ceramics through the ages in the Zhejiang province. The pottery is mainly “青瓷 (qīngcí) Celadon pottery,” a specialty of the area for millennia. It features a glaze with small cracks and a jade-green color. One popular exhibit is a curated example of traditional wedding dowry items.

Chinese Knowledge Points

国际博物馆日 (Guójì bówùguǎn rì): International Museum Day.

国际(Guójì): international.

博物馆 (Bówùguǎn): a museum.

博物院 (Bówùyuàn): a museum, sometimes larger in scale.

馆 (Guǎn): a place for cultural or sports activities; accommodation for guests; embassy.

院 (Yuàn): a designation for certain government offices and public places; compound; courtyard.

HSK 3 quiz

Shìjiè bówùguǎn rì shì shénme shíhòu?
世 界 博 物 馆 日 是 什 么 时候?

A. 14th May
B. 18th May
C. 16th May

Read More:

Tourism Traps and The Chinese Word You Need to Know
A Spy Called Ling Ling Gou in the Imperial Palace

— Written by Julia Liu —

Julia teaches Chinese with eChineseLearning. She has been successfully teaching for 5 years and loves reading and practices her passion of drawing in her free time.

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