For some people, the best way to learn about the history of a place is to begin with museums. And it’s true that they characterize the opportunity to discover the cultural vestiges and to pass through the ancient times.
Today, museums are major in cities, as it is the case for Beijing. Testimony of past civilization and culture, they play a very important role.
Since middle of the 1990s, the government of Beijing invested a lot in the restoration of museums and the construction of new buildings. The choice offered is very up to standard: there are more than hundred.
Ideally located on the east side of Tian'an Men Square in Beijing, The National Museum of China is the largest history museum in China. Through display of both material and non-material collections and exhibits, it narrates the history created by the ancestors of the Chinese people.
The predecessors of the National Museum are two museums: the Museum of Chinese History and the Museum of Chinese Revolution, which shared the same building complex.
• The Museum of Chinese History
The Museum of Chinese History displays three main periods of Chinese history. More than 9000 objects are exposed by themes and in a chronological way: The first, the Primitive Society, spans from 500,000BC to 4,000BC. The exhibits in the Slavery Society section cover the time from 2,100BC to 475BC and the Feudal Society exhibits focus on the period from 221BC to 1911.
You will be able to note the delicacy of bronzes, jade wares or Tang pagoda three-color pottery figurines.
• The Museum of the Chinese Revolution
The Museum of the Chinese Revolution emphasizes the history of the past 150 years, in particular the history of the Communist Party of China.
Much of China's modern history is put on display, including the founding of the Chinese Communist Party (1919-1921), the first two civil wars (1924-1927 and 1927-1937), the resistance war against Japanese aggression (1937-1945) and the liberation war (1945-1949). The museum is frequently updated to reflect the developments of modern political history.
Brilliant, both by the quality of the arrangement and by the excellence of collections displayed. If you wish to understand the complex history of China, don’t miss a visit.
Address: 16, East Chang'an Street, Dongcheng district; entrance on west side Tiananmen Square
• 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. for March 1to June 30
8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. for July 1to August 31
8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. for September 1to October 31
9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. for November 1to February 29
• Admission: 30 Yuan
• Tel: 8610-6512 8901
• Website: http://www.nmch.gov.cn
• Ancient Bell Museum & Big Bell Temple: 8:30AM to 4:30PM daily
The Ancient Bell Museum in Dazhong Temple in northern Haidian District was where emperors presided over rituals praying for rain. The Ancient Bell Temple Museum is the only one of its kind in China. The museum has on display 700 or more bells, made of bronze, iron and jade from China and overseas; It houses the country's largest bell one of the largest in the world: at 5.6 meters in height, and weighing 46.6 tons. Today this ancient bell is still rung on significant days, such as New Year, Spring Festival and other major celebrations. Many tourists from home and abroad are attracted to this beautiful temple's environment by its unique exhibitions and interesting activities.
• Beijing Museum of Natural History (Ziran Bowuguan): 8:30AM to 5:00PM daily; 126 Tianqiao Nandajie – Bus 17, 20, 36 and 116 - Tel: 010-67024431 E-mail: email@example.com
Located in Yongdingmen Chongwen distric, it condenses the creature development history on 400 million years. The impressive dinosaur bones are worth seeing. Visitors can have a full view of the dinosaur world through 'Jurassic Park’ room. The aquarium contains some beautiful specimens even if the atmosphere is a little bit gloomy. In the last floor of the museum, do not miss the “junk shop”!
• Capital Museum and Library: 9:00AM to 5:00PM Tues-Sun, Bus 2, 13, 42, 116, 104, 108
The Capital Museum located in the Confucius Temple traces Beijing history and has a high-quality collection of pieces. Add: 13, Guozijian Street, Doncheng District
With its impressive architecture, abundant exhibitions and advanced technologies the Capital Museum is a big modern museum contributing to the status of Beijing as a « famous historical and cultural city ", a "cultural center" and an «international metropolis» and ranks among the first-class museums in China and abroad.
The architecture of the museum is in iitself an architectural artwork integrating both classical and modern beauty; distinct national characteristics on one hand and obvious modernity on the other.
The conception of the rich exhibition tries to apply quite new ideas, to break with the classical mode by taking advantage of technologies and of modern methods, create a special atmosphere, give to the spectators an involvement experience, more accessibility, interest, interaction to suit every type of visitor.
Collection, exhibition and research are the key functions of museums. Being positioned as a significant cultural facility, the new Capital Museum also serves to carry out cultural heritages protection and research, disseminate a patriotic spirit and historical and scientific knowledge to the public and the youth in Beijing; moreover, it is an important ceremony and ritual holding site and a public place for tourism and leisure as well.
• China Art Museum: open 9:00AM to 4:00PM Tues-Sun
Beijing Art Museum has collected and preserved the precious historical relics such as bronze and jade articles of Shang and Zhou Dynasties (17th-3th centuries B.C), and the ancient art treasures as potteries, porcelains, enamels, carved lacquer ware, ivory carving ,wood carving, etc of the past dynasties.
Address: Wanshou Temple, North of West 3rd-ring Road; Bus 300,323,374,811 or 817,at the Wanshou Tample Station; Bus 334,347 or 360,at the Sanhuqiao or Baiwalu Station
Admission: 20 Yuan
Tel: 8610-68479391; 8610-68413380
• China Sport Museum:3A Anding Lu, 8:30AM to 4:30PM daily;
On display are exhibits portraying sporting activities in imperial China and sporting development from 1840-1949. The museum also outlines achievements and sport culture since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949; It besides shows the distinctive range of sports of the country’s 56 ethnic groups, including Mongolian wrestling and Korean seesawing and swinging.
The China Sports Museum is located on the southeast side of the Olympic Center outside Anding Men. The museum is the first dedicated museum tracing back the history of sports in China over the past 5,000 years with a collection of cultural relics, photos, paintings, trophies and medals.
Address: Anding Men Wai, Anding Road, #3A
• China Stamp Museum: 9:00AM to 4:00PM Tues-Sun
China's Museum of Stamps, located at Hepingmen (Peace Gate). The museum has collected around 200,000 varieties of stamps, foreign and Chinese, around 100 million stamps in total. It has also collected some relics of postal history.
Attention-grabbing visit if you are in the area.
Add: Building No.2, Xuanwumen Avenue E,. Xuanwu Dsitrict
Opening Time: exhibitions on specific topics from time to time; pre-booking required
How to get there: Bus No.14, 15, 22,44,45,48
• Military Museum: 8:30AM to 5:00PM daily, Subway to Military Museum Station, Bus 1,4,57
Located at 9 Fuxing Lu, The Military Museum houses reveals such as Cold War-era F-5 fighters, the larger F-7 and F-8, tanks and two large HQ-2 surface-to-air missiles. Visitors have a chance to view statues of military and political top brass. Exhibitions detailing the Korean War, the Opium War, the Taiping and the Boxers can be seen on the halls upstairs the Military Museum.
Opening times: 8.30am to 5.00pm
Admission: 5 yuan. It will be higher during the peak season.
Military museum is free, so if you have time and you are interested in military history, you should visit this place; the explanations are all in Chinese.
- Museum of Aeronautic and Astronautic Models
Nestled in a green landscape this museum aims to show flight models to people who love this kind of fervor. Within the museum there are several facilities such as conference centre; exhibition hall and a collection dedicated to public who want learn more about this passion.
Located in Dashanzi, Chaoyang District, Beijing Museum of Aeronautic and Astronautic Models is China's first model museum. The museum has activity zones represented by "the small airport", exhibition halls, workshops and teaching halls.
The relics are all very precious aircraft manufacturing, and have a big collection and research value. At the same time, the museum also collects equipments samples such as radars, aeronautical cameras, aeronautical clothes, parachutes, aeronautical wheels, etc., as well as other antiques, books and Chinese and foreign aeronautical documents.
Exhibitions on subjects of all sorts are organized: air forces equipments development, construction and development of the national air administration for example.
Address: Dashanzi Huantie, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Bus Route: Bus No. 403,813 to their destination；Bus No. 402,418 to the stop of Nangao, then walk 20-40 minutes
Opening Hours: 8: 30-17: 00, close on Monday； large-scaled simulation performance begins at 10: 30 a.m. on Saturday from May to October (except in bad weather and on special tasks)
Admission Fee: 20 Yuan(adults), 10 Yuan (students) for regular exhibition；RMB 40 Yuan(adults), 25 Yuan (students) for aerobatic flight. Price will be discussed for group visitors.
Tel: 010-64372990, 8610-64373015