Shanghai Museum Visitors Guide

Shanghai is a symbol of a modern cutting edge China.  Its skyscrapers are amount the tallest and most impressive anywhere in the world.  It boats the fastest train in the world.  Almost everything about the city is forward thinking.  There is still places however to see the China of old and no better is that represented than at the Shanghai Museum.


The Shanghai Museum first opening in 1952 as a place to preserve ancient Chinese artifacts.  It moved into its current building located in the heart of Peoples Square in 1996.  The building’s shape is designed to resemble an ancient Chinese cooking vessel.  Inside there are four floors of exhibition space with nearly 130,000 pieces in the Museum’s collection.  It is divided into 21 categories such as paintings, calligraphy, ceramics, coins, ancient jade, sculptures, and more.

The Shanghai Museum has artifacts dating back more than 5,000 years.  One room is dedicated to China’ bronze age which was between 3,000 to 200 BC.  Beautifully ornate items used for food, and wine,  as well as musical instruments make this one room worth the visit alone.    

Perhaps the most interesting room is dedicated to calligraphy.  Stunning manuscripts dating back thousands of years are on display showing, show the written word in a beautiful and artistic way.  


Currency in China dates back to 700 BC and the museum has a large collection of coins and paper currency that spins thousands of years.       

Furniture dating back to the Ming dynasty show an excellent design and craftsmanship.  Jade is popular in China and the museum hosts an excellent collection of carvings made from jade.

People don’t typically think of traditional Chinese culture when considering a trip to Shanghai.  The modern metropolis is looking at the present and the future, but also has one of the best collections displaying artifacts of China’s past.  It also shows that China has always been a forward thinking society as you will see they are one of the first to implement many things such as the use of currency and the art of writing.  The Shanghai Museum is an absolute must visit to better understand the Shanghai of today.


Getting to the Shanghai Museum

The Shanghai Museum is located in People’s Square.  You may take Metro line 1,2, or 8 and exit at People’s Square Station.  The museum is open every day except Mondays from 9:00-5:00 PM.  Entrance into the museum is free.  There is a limit of 8,000 visitors per day so be sure to get there early if it is a weekend or holiday to ensure entry.  There is a charge for an audio guide.  Food options include a restaurant, cafe, and tea room.   

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