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The National Museum of China

The National Museum of China, by Tiananmen Square, Beijing

The National Museum of China (Zhōngguó Guójiā Bówùguăn – 中国国家博物馆)
The Museum of Chinese History (Zhōngguó Lìshĭ Bówùguăn – 中国历史博物馆)
The Museum of The Revolution (Zhōngguó Gémìng Lìshĭ Bówùguăn – 中国革命历史博物馆),

To the East of Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, The National Museum of China is a hulking building which used to house The Museum of Chinese History and The Museum of The Revolution.

The building, like the Great Hall of The People on the opposite side of the Square, was one of ten buildings built in Beijing in 1959 in as part of the celebrations of the foundation of the People’s Republic of China.

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In honour of the 2008 Olympics, the Beijing authorities have embarked on a huge programme of renovation and expansion. The area is set to double, and relics and artefacts should be at once more accessible and better protected.

The completion date is currently set at October 2007, but it could be pushed back.

Before the refurbishments are completed, visitors to Beijing can have a look round a reduced exhibition of Chinese bronzes, ceramics and jade.

The building was formerly occupied by the Museum of Chinese History and the Chinese Museum of the Revolution. These museums are to be merged to create the new National Museum of China. It seems likely that the content of these museums will constitute most of the content of the new museum, with the majority coming from the former Museum of Chinese History.

The Chinese Museum of History contained a huge collection covering Chinese history from prehistoric times until the fall of the Qing dynasty. The oldest exhibits included the teeth of the 1,700,000 year old Yuanmou man, found in Yunnan province, and artefacts from the Peking Man site. Later exhibitions include early polished stone tools, and some impressive bronzes and pottery.

The Museum of Chinese Revolution emphasised the history of the last 150 years, and was hence somewhat politicised… and not all that scintillating.

Practical

Entry 30Y. Bag storage 1Y.

Open 8.30am-4pm.

Nearest subway station: Tiananmen Dong on Line 1. The museum is just to the East of Tiananmen Square.

The central location means that a taxi from anywhere in the city centre will cost less than 30Y.


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