The National Museum of China is back and it’s better than ever. Below is a guide to navigating this fun-filled museum.
Tian’anmen Square has something new to look at now: The National Museum of China. Reopened to the public after three years of reconstruction, the freshly embellished building contains four main floors, countless exhibition halls, gift shops, a fabulous lobby and a café. Admission to the museum is free of charge but proper personal identification (passport or Chinese identification card) is required.
There is a “check in” desk where you can leave your belongings. The downside to this is the 25-minute wait to do so. Visitors are subject to a security check and no liquid, food or sharp items are permitted. Emergency medication is permitted “with distinct designation.”
In the lobby, you will have a choice of going upstairs or to the basement (there is nothing on display at the moment). On the first floor, there is a small cafe on the south side of the building where they serve tea, snacks, drinks, and sandwiches. English communication is moderate.
The navigation signs are a bit confusing and only offer information about which floor each exhibit is on and no further directions. Guides circulating the exhibits are also not very helpful and seem a bit confused about where things are. If you are utterly lost, the information desk in the lobby is helpful. Summer visitors will be happy to know that the showrooms provide comfortable air conditioning. And families needn’t worry about the crowd; the museum is equipped to house 3,000 visitors daily.
“Ancient China” and “Road to revival” are two main year-long exhibitions at the museum that display pottery, calligraphy, sculptures and documents. English translation is provided for every piece of work. Photo-taking is prohibited inside the exhibits with strict supervision by security (If you take photos of the exhibit, security may ask you to delete the photos on your camera). Most of the showpieces are protected by heavy glass, with only a few without physical protection that prohibit touching.
Private exhibitions are also offered, such as “Louis Vuitton Voyages,” which shows from May 31 until August 30on the second floor of the museum. A display of different Louis Vuitton bags brings you on a journey of the brand’s history. The exhibit costs RMB 10per person. Audio translations are offered in English, French, Spanish, and Cantonese.
There are other small exhibitions located on different floors of the museum, focusing on culture, civilization, evolution, art, science, and language. These exhibitions focus on creating a “global village” that includes multiple cultures from all over the world, such as India, Maya, Europe, and Asia. The quantity and the quality of the exhibits are quite dissatisfying since most of the display halls are empty and do not provide much to look at. Therefore, the place is a bit bleak, with most tourists just wandering around. However, the National Museum of China is definitely a top-recommended site to see in Beijing, due to its historical influence and fabulous architecture.
Car: A 15-min drive from CBD
Subway: Tian’anmen East Station (Line 1), 500m walking distance from Qianmen Station (Line 2)
Taxi: Taxis are not permitted to stop atTian’anmen Square
Tue-Sun 8.30am–4.30pm.16 Changan Jie, Dongcheng District (6511 9031, 6511 6400) 中国国家博物馆, 东城区东长安街16号