National Museum of China

National Museum
National Museum of China
The National Museum of China sits to the east of Tiananmen Square and south of Chang'an Street, opposite to the Great Hall of the People.  Finished at the same time, the National Museum of China and the Great Hall of the People were both among the 'Ten Great Constructions' completed for the 10th birthday of the PRC. It was built on the basis of the former Museum of Chinese History and the former Museum of Chinese Revolution,  being the most inclusive museum of time-honored Chinese culture and history in the country. After four year's renovation and expansion, the new National Museum of China reopened in March, 2011 ranks among the largest modern museums in the world.

History of National Museum of China

The Museum of Chinese History developed from the National History Museum which was constructed in 1912 at the site of Beijing Guozijian originally. Later it moved to the Meridian Gate (Wumen) and the Upright Gate (Duanmen) of the Forbidden City. After the founding of the People's Republic of China, the government decided to build a new museum to the east of Tiananmen Square in August, 1958. Thereby, a new structure named the Museum of Chinese History was born in the next September.

The Museum of the Chinese Revolution grew out of the Preparatory Office of Central Revolution Museum that came into existence in March, 1950. The Preparatory Office was set in Circular City (Tuancheng) of Beihai Park at the beginning and moved to the Hall of Martial Valor of the Forbidden City before long. In October, 1958, a new building took shape to the east of Tiananmen Square. August, 1959 saw the completion of the building. August of the next year was the time when the Museum of the Chinese Revolution was presented and the Preparatory Office was eliminated. Its official opening was on July 1st, 1961.

In September, 1969, the Museum of Chinese History and the Museum of the Chinese Revolution were combined as the Revolution and History Museum of China. Later they went back to their separate buildings in the early years of the 1980s. On February, 28, 2003, the museum was inaugurated. 

It was closed again for renovation and rebuilding in 2007 and reopened on March 1, 2011. The new one is two times larger than the previous one. The exhibition themed the Road to Rejuvenation once inaugurated in celebration of the 60th birthday of the PRC in 2009 is the first display in the new National Museum of China. The northern exhibition area was unveiled firstly to the public.

Main Exhibits and Facilities

Exhibit in National Museum
Picture of Founding Ceremony
of People's Republic of China

After renovation and expansion, National Museum of China has in total 48 exhibition halls, ranging from 800-2,000 square meters (960-2,400 square yards). Ancient China and the Road to Rejuvenation are the main basic exhibitions to show nearly 3,000 historic materials from Yuanmou Man about 1,700,000 years ago to the abdication of the Qing Emperor in 1912 in ten exhibition halls, and modern and contemporary revolutionary relics since the First Opium War (or the First Anglo-Chinese War) in 1840 in nine exhibitions halls, mirroring more than 100 years development of China from 1840 to the founding of the PRC in 1949.

National Museum of China is devoted to display of treasured collections in form of various thematic exhibitions, such as the Arts of bronze, porcelain, jade, Chinese calligraphy and paintings, Buddhist statues, Ming & Qing furniture, coins, etc in ancient China; to display feature culture relics, significant archeological discoveries and ethnic culture and folk customs in the form of exchanges and cooperation with local museums; to display different civilizations and artistic creations in the world in the form of loan and exchange exhibitions. There are temporary exhibition halls to display modern art. 

New buildings of National Museum of China during the latest renovation project include several banquet rooms respectively decorated with wood, brick, bronze and stone carvings. In order to provide a variety of services, the new National Museum has shops offering tea, coffee, souvenirs, as well as an auditorium and a 700-seat theater.


Top Treasures

The National Museum of China houses the most cherished and topmost level cultural relics of the whole nation, which can be seen in history schoolbook. The oldest exhibit is the teeth of Yuanmou Man 1.7 million years ago. There are also the stone tools and ancient jade ritual objects of prehistoric times. Simuwu Rectangle Ding, which is the top treasure of the museum is the biggest piece of bronze ware in China. It was discovered in the Yin Ruins Royal Tomb of the Shang Dynasty. The image in the emblem of the National Museum of China is Simuwu Ding. In addition, the 34.5kg bronze Four Ram Zun Vessel of the Shang Dynasty, the Tang Dynasty Tricolor Pottery with Musician and Dancing Figures on Camelback excavated in Xi'an in 1957 and the Jade Shroud Sewn with Gold Thread for the emperor and nobility of the Han Dynasty are also top treasures of the museum. 

Permanent and Regular Exhibitions

 The Road to Rejuvenation (North Galleries N5-N7, N12-N15):  from Opium War of 1840 - attempts and achievements at national rejuvenation
 Ancient China (Galleries N20-N25, S15-S18, S20): a complete picture of Chinese history from the prehistoric times to the late Qing Dynasty 
 Masterpieces of Chinese Fine Arts (Central Hall 1): paintings and sculptures about historical and revolutionary themes 
 Chinese Qing and Ming Furniture (Gallery N9): furniture made of lacquered wood or hardwood of Ming and Qing Dynasty
 Stone Sculptures of Song Dynasty (Public Area): embossments of Song Dynasty unearthed in Sichuan Province showing the ancient people's life and funeral custom
 Ancient Chinese Porcelain (Gallery N17): various porcelains from Zhou to Qing Dynasty
 Ancient Chinese Money (Gallery S11):  the objects, including early cowrie shells, coins in different shapes that were used for over 2,000 years, and machine-made copper or silver coins inlate Qing
 Ancient Chinese Jades (Gallery S13): some of the finest jade objects dating from the Neolithic times to the Qing Dynasty to be displayed 
 Ancient Chinese Bronze Art (Central Hall 2): those ancient bronzes from the Xia, Shang, and Western Zhou Dynasties to the Spring and Autumn and the Warring States Periods
 Ancient Chinese Buddhist Sculpture (Central Hall 2): including buddhist sculptures once lost overseas, bestowed by the State Bureau for Preservation of Cultural Relics, borrowed from Qingzhou Museum and new collections of this museum

 Visitors are not allowed to take selfie sticks and tripods for the safety of the exhibits in the museum. Those who already take the above-mentioned equipment are required to deposit their equipment before entering. Meanwhile, flash photography is also prohibited in the museum.

How to get to National Museum of China

By Bus:
1. Take Bus 1, 2, 52, 59, 82, 120, Sightseeing Bus Line 2, or Tourist Bus Line 2 to Tiananmen East;
2. Take Bus 8, 9, 20, 44, 622, or Te 2 to Qianmen East; and then walk north for 10 minutes to the National Museum of China.

By Subway:
1. Take Subway Line 1  to Tiananmen East, the museum is to the south;
2. Take Subway Line 2 to Qianmen, the museum is to the north.
Beijing Bus / Subway Search

Ticket Price Free for basic exhibitions and permanent galleries; visitors need to pay for some special exhibitions.
Notes: 3,000 visitors permitted every day, including 2/3 group visitors and 1/3 individual visitors.
Open Hours 9:00 to 17:00, closed on Monday
(Tickets issued until 15:30; Last entry at 16:00)
Reservation Call 010-65116400 for group reservation (9:00-16:00)
Individual visitors can go to the museum's ticket center at the West Entrance, showing thier passport for an admission ticket.

- Last updated on May. 11, 2021 -
Questions & Answers on National Museum of China
Asked by Richard from UNITED STATES | Sep. 08, 2018 12:12Reply
How can we avoid the long security lines of National Museum of China?
I was in Beijing in March and tried twice to get in. Both times I waited over an hour and gave up. Is there preference given to tourists with guides
Answers (1)
Answered by Harry from CANADA | Sep. 11, 2018 00:08

Hi, you can find a Chinese friend to make an appointment on the official website in advance, then you don't need to wait for a long queue. Or you can go to there in an early morning so that you will not wait too long.
Asked by adam from FRANCE | Mar. 03, 2015 14:57Reply
I would like to visit the national museum in beijing
is there any means to buy tickets without queuing for too long?
Answers (1)
Answered by Jeffrey from CANADA | Mar. 03, 2015 19:28

Yes, there is. You can reserve a free entrance ticket in advance on the official website of the museum (English version is accessible). Just try to search “chnmuseum”online to find the website. And the booking part is under the “visiting”index. May help!
Asked by Yahya Hassn | Jan. 27, 2015 01:19Reply
Is it must to be the original certificate or photocopy is enough to visit National Museum of China??
Answers (1)
Answered by Jim from POLAND | Jan. 27, 2015 03:01

You need to show your original certificate.
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