Guyuan Museum, established on December 30, 1983 in affiliation with the Department of Culture of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region (aka Ningxia), is located in the mountainous area in the south of the region. Guyuan Museum is a provincial museum with multiple functions: the staging of exhibitions, both the staging of temporary exhibitions as well as maintaining – and adding to, as the need arises – the permanent exhibiton; collecting historical relics (and coordinating with regional authorities in order to facilitate new excavations, especially in connection with construction projects); and conducting scientific research as well as assisting in educating future museum experts, not to speak of educating the public in general with regard to the accidental unearthing of artifacts of historical significance.
The museum, which consists of three parts – a display area for the permanent collection, a display area for guesting exhibitions, and the adminstrative offices – comprises a total exhibition area of some 40,000 square meters, and a total building space of roughly 13,000 square meters. The architectural style of the museum's buildings is simple, the colors subdued. The museum is the cultural highlight of the city, and, quite literally, one of the city's bright spots, since the walls of the buildings consist of a large number of windows, allowing a high degree of natural lighting in which to view the many showcases of artifacts.
There are some 20,000 artifacts on display in the musuem, of which 123 are of prime national importance, and 3 of which are designated as "national treasures". The most illustrious exhibit is a collection of Northern China bronze pieces that stem from the Spring and Autumn (BCE 770-476) and Warring States (BCE 403-221) Periods. In addition, the museum includes important works such as elaborate examples of Coffin Painting from the period of the Northern Wei (CE 386-533) Dynasty as well as Gold and Silver Plated Pots from the Northern Zhou (CE 557-588) Dynasty, both belonging to the Northern Dynasties (CE 386-588) period of the Southern and Northern (CE 386-588) Dynasties period.
The exhibition area of the museum consists of the Exhibition Building, the Display Halls of Ancient Tombs and Carved Stones, the so-called Treasure of National Unity (a tripod-shaped container used to hold water or alcohol), and the Clock Pavilion. Beyond the lobby of the Exhibition Building are 9 exhibition halls, among which the exhibition halls devoted to "The Ancient Civilization of Guyuan" and "The Ancient Silk Road in Guyuan" are the two most frequented.
As a window on Guyuan's past, Guyuan Museum is dedicated to preserving the rich artistry and cultural history of this part of ancient China for the appreciation of present and future generations of Chinese people as well as present and future generations of peoples from all over the world who might wish to make the trip to Guyuan to witness first-hand the anthropological history of early man in this region, as well as the cultural history of ancient Chinese society down through several dynastic periods, including the rich exchanges that occurred between "East and West" during China's illustrious Silk Road period, for there is nothing quite like first-hand experience, or 'seeing it for yourself'.