Back to Beijing Homepage
Sights & Attractions --- Museum


There are museums and galleries of all sizes and interests all over the city. Some are nearly miniscule with few items exhibited and others are so large it is rather overwhelming.

Many treasures have been looted or destroyed over the turbulent years of Chinese history, but many discoveries in the last twenty five or so years have added greatly to the government's treasures.

The museums may be tucked away in nearly every historical venue in Beijing. In recent years art galleries have sprung up all over the city as the population becomes more and more affluent giving young Chinese artists the opportunity to exhibit and sell their work.

The Chinese Military Museum Lobby Lounge Museum of Chinese History
Capital Museum Beijing Museum of Ancient Architectures Tongzhou Museum
Lu Xun Museum Beijing Art Museum of Stone Carvings Peiking Man Site & Museum
Song Qing-Ling Museum Beijing Postal Museum The National Geological Museum of China
Beijing Natural History Museum Clock Museum Palace Museum
Chinese Military Museum Xu Bei-hong Museum Arthur M.Sackler Museum of Art and Archaeology
Beijing Art Museum Great Bell Temple Museum of the Chinese Nationalities



The Chinese Military Museum is located in western Beijing just south of the beautiful Yuyuantan Park.  The exhibits cover 5,000 years of Chinese Military history.

The permanent exhibits include:  Hall of the Northern Expedition and Agrarian War, Hall of the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, Hall of the National Liberation Wars, Hall of Weapons, Hall of Ancient Wars, Hall of Modern Wars.

The museum also hosts special exhibitions on national defense, science and technology, and Chinese culture and arts.

>>>Back to Top

A visit to this excellent museum gives an introduction to modern Chinese history from the Opium War to the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949.  The Museum is located on the east side of Tian'anmen Square and shares the building with the Museum of Chinese History.

Exhibits highlight the Opium Wars, the 1911 revolution, founding of the Communist Party in 1921, the Japanese invasion in 1937, and Mao Zedong's declaration of independence in 1949.  English translations are available for all exhibits.

Large Digital Clocks in front of the building counted down the days, hours, and seconds to the return of Hong Kong in 1997, and Macau in 1999.

>>>Back to Top


Located on the east side of Tian'anmen Square in the same building as the Museum of the Chinese Revolution.

Besides the permanent exhibits, special exhibitions are held here.  None of the exhibits have English translations.


>>>Back to Top


The Capital Museum houses nearly 200,000 valuable artifacts unearthed in the Beijing area.  Among the treasures are ancient coins, stoneware, bonzes, steles, jade, calligraphy and paintings.

At the core of the collections are 800 historical relics which outline the history of the Beijing area.

The museum has also welcomed important exhibitions from Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and the United States.

The Capital Museum, located in the Confucius Temple on Guozijian Street, Dongcheng District, is where  emperors of the Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties worshipped Confucius, the noted Chinese philosopher.

In the Confucius Temple musical instruments, once used in the ceremonies, are displayed, as well as ancient steles and stone tablets with the "Thirteen Classical Works".

>>>Back to Top


If you would like to see a large model of the ancient city of Beijing, do not miss the Beijing Museum of Ancient Architectures which is located on the old site of the Xiannong Altar.

This is China's first museum specializing in the collection, study and display of China's ancient architectural technology, art, history and development.

The Xiannong Altar was built in 1420 and was the site visited by Ming and Qing Emperors to offer acrifices to famous gods and to hold tilling ceremonies.

>>>Back to Top


The Tongzhou Museum features 164 cultural antiquities of the past 2,200 years of the the suburban Beijing district of Tongzhou.

The museum is housed in a well restored Qing Dynasty compound with houses around a square courtyard. There are colorful paintings in the rooms of the houses. In the spring a fragrant lilac tree blooms in the center of the courtyard's flower bed. A relief dragon sculpture surrounds the lilac tree.

>>>Back to Top


Lu Xun is a noted modern Chinese writer. Most of his stories described the sufferings of the Chinese people for the 25 years following the end of the Qing Dynasty.

The museum houses some of his manuscripts, correspondence and diaries as well as drawings with revolutionary themes. The museum is located in the Xicheng District and is next to the compound which was his home at one time. "The True Story of Ah Q" is one of his most famous stories.

>>>Back to Top


The site of the Wuta (Five Pagoda) Temple is home to this open air museum which is the first museum in China specializing in the collection and exhibition of stone carvings.

600 stone carvings are on display from the permanent collection of over 1,200. These date from the Han to the late Qing Dynasties. Explanation texts are all in Chinese, but at times English speaking guides are available. With permission, rubbings of the stone-carved steles can be made.

The museum is located at 24 Wutasicun, Haidian District.

>>>Back to Top


Near the village of Zhoukoudian, about 37 miles southwest of Beijing, 1920's and 30's excavations unearthed evidence of palaeolithic Man-Homo erectus Pekinensis-which dates to 500,000 to 300,000 years ago.

There is now a museum near the original excavations, which hosts visitors. The 'Peking Man' skull disappeared during World War II, but many other artifacts remain and are exhibited.


Madam Song Qing-Ling was the wife of Dr. Sun Yat Sen who many Chinese consider the founder of modern China.

The museum is housed in her large Qing mansion and contains many personal items as well as pictures of her life with her husband. She lived at the house from 1963 until her death in 1981.

When visiting do not miss a stroll in the lovely gardens of the home.

>>>Back to Top


Any philatelist will certainly enjoy a visit to this small but unique museum in Xiao Baofang Hutong, Chongnei Dajie.

There is as much history in the building as in the collections exhibited. It was the General Post Office of Beijing from 1905-07 during the Qing Dynasty, and remained part of the postal system until it became a private residence in 1959. The museum was established in
1996 and was restored to the original condition with carved beams and painted rafters.

The exhibits include postal collections and historical photos celebrating the one hundred year old Beijing Post.

Presently it serves as a functioning post office for the old Hutong neighborhood. Philatelic services are available as well.

>>>Back to Top


Originally established around 1916 by the Beijing Geological Survey, it has grown from small beginnings specializing in geology and mineral resources, into the largest geological museum in Asia.

It is visited by over 100,000 people each year and is located at Xisi Hutong. The museum has been in its present location since 1958.

Displays of the over 120,000 items are divided into four main halls:
Hall of Geological Resources
Hall of the Earth History
Hall of Minerals and Rocks
Hall of Gems and Jades

Don't miss the huge dinosaurs and the primitive bird fossils.

>>>Back to Top


This natural history museum is the largest of its kind in China, and is located in southern Beijing on the western edge of the Temple of Heaven.
The first floor is primarily devoted to zoology and could be considered somewhat dull, but the second floor displays of cross sections of human cadavers and pickled organs most certainly isn't.

>>>Back to Top


Tucked away towards the rear of the Forbidden City is a marvelous treat, the Clock Museum.

Most of the clocks are from the 17th and 18th century and were made by English and French craftsmen for several Qing Emperors.

>>>Back to Top


The Forbidden City is also known as the Palace Museum and what treasures there are within this architectural marvel.

Even though the Nationalist Chinese Army took thousands of the treasures to Taiwan in 1949, and the Red Guards, during the Cultural Revolution destroyed thousands of others, over 900,000 treasures remain.

The Palace Museum is the largest and the most important museum in China and the treasures span thousands of years with some from the bronze age during the Shang Dynasty, 1700-1027 BC.

Included in the collection are bronzes, painting and calligraphy, ceramics, minor arts (lacquer, silverwork, jade and cloisonne') as well as textiles (embroidery and silk tapestries).

>>>Back to Top


This museum is dedicated to the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and is filled with large and small weaponry as well as paintings and photographs of Mao Zedong from his appearance in Chinese history.

It is located at 9 Fuxing Lu, Haidian District.

>>>Back to Top


Xu Beihong (1895-1953) is not a well known artist in the west, but is famous in China for his realistic paintings of galloping horses on canvas. In China the horse is an emblem of speed and perserverance.

Xu studied art in France and when he returned to China became an educator and instructor of art. He is considered the father of modern Chinese painting. All of his paintings are considered national

When Xu died his wife donated 1200 of his works and his life's collection of paintings by ancient and modern artists as well as over 10,000 books and picture albums.

A small shop on site sells reproductions of his work. His life as an educator continues as students from China and abroad come here to the museum to learn from professors from the Central Academy of Fine Arts.

It is located at 53 Xinjiekoubri , Xicheng District.

>>>Back to Top


The Sackler Museum opened in 1993 on the grounds of Beijing University. It occupies a building specifically designed and constructed for this purpose and is close to the West Gate of the university. It was designed to conform to the Ming Dynasty style structures, around a courtyard, and to compliment the existing buildings on the university grounds.

For over seventy years these precious artifacts were stored in the archaeology department of the university gathering dust. The well displayed items cover over 280,000 years from the Paleolithic Period to the Qing Dynasty, and include archaeological relics as well as early Chinese art.

To the west of the site which had been a part of the Old Summer Palace which was destroyed in 1860, the gardens have been beautifully restored and are the future site of the Jillian Sackler Sculpture Garden.

>>>Back to Top


The Beijing Art Museum was founded in 1985 and is located in the Wanshou Temple, the Temple of Longevity, in western Beijing.

The permanent collection includes bronze and jade from the Shang and Zhou Dynasties, (17th-3rd century BC), ceramics, enamels, carved lacquerware, ivory, weavings and embroideries of the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Ancient coins from China and Japan compliment the other collections. There are over 50,000 items from the Neolithic Period to modern times.

The Wanshou Temple was erected during the reign of the Ming Dynasty Emperor, Wanli, to store Buddhist scriptures in Chinese. During the Ming and Qing Dynasties birthday celebrations for the imperial family were celebrated there.

>>>Back to Top


The Great Bell Temple is actually a museum of hundreds of bells, and features the Yongle Bell which is the larges bell in China. It is located in a Buddhist Temple, Haidian District, on the Third Ring Road.

The Yongle bell weighs 46.5 tons and was cast during the Ming Dynasty. English explanations of the casting of bronze bells in China are available. When the bell is rung it can be heard 25 miles away.

Recordings of the Great Bell Orchestra are for sale on site.

>>>Back to Top


The Museum of the Chinese Nationalities celebrates the architecture, folk customs, food, arts and crafts of China's minority nationalities. Approximately 94 per cent of China's population are Han Chinese. The other 6 per cent of the population are made up of over 50 minorities, or ethnic groups.

This large museum is located southwest of the Beijing Asian Games Village next to the China National Olympic Center and it contains over 60,000 items of ethnic cultural relics.

Ethnic song and dance performances, art works, sports and festival activities can be enjoyed by visitors.

>>>Back to Top

Regent Tour China Your China Specialist. Email: