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Beijing's Top 10 : Museums

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  1. Arthur Sackler Museum

    Part of the Beijing University archeology department, this museum has a collection that spans 280,000 years, from the Paleolithic era to the Qing dynasty. As well as fossils and bones, it includes beautiful bronzes and fine ceramics.

    • Beijing University campus, Haidian district

    • 6275 1667

    • Open 9am–4:30pm daily

    • ¥20 (foreign visitors must bring their passport)

  2. Ancient Architecture Museum

    Close to the Temple of Heaven, south of Tian’an Men Square, this place is worth visiting for the museum building alone, which is the pavilion of a former grand temple complex .

  3. Capital Museum

    Formerly housed in the Confucius Temple, this museum now boasts a huge, modern five-story building near Fuxingmen. It documents Beijing’s history through more than 200,000 relics and archival images. Among the several permanent exhibitions is the fascinating “Stories of the Capital City – Old Beijing Folk Customs” .

  4. Imperial City Museum

    After wandering around the Forbidden City, call by this nearby museum to see all the bits of imperial Beijing that didn’t survive. The walls and gates that once encircled the city, along with literally dozens of vanished temples, are revisited through a great many maps, models, and photographs.

  5. Military Museum of the Chinese People’s Revolution

    Visitors to the museum are greeted by paintings of Mao, Marx, Lenin, and Stalin, at least two of whom were fully conversant with the various methods of bringing death and destruction celebrated inside. The ground floor is filled with fighter planes, tanks, and missiles, while displays upstairs chronicle China’s military campaigns .

  6. China National Museum

    What the Metropolitan Museum is to New York and the British Museum to London, the China National is to Beijing. The building is currently undergoing a massive restoration program and is slated to reopen in 2010. The focal point of the new design by German architectural firm gmp is the building’s sensitive integration in Tian’an Men Square .

    China National Museum
  7. Science and Technology Museum

    Exhibits at this suitably hi-tech looking complex start with ancient science and come bang up-to-date with space capsules and magnetic-levitation trains.

    Science and Technology Museum
  8. Natural History Museum

    There are around 5,000 specimens on display, including a fine collection of models and skeletons of dinosaurs, and other creatures that are even more prehistoric than the Socialist stylings of the museum building .

    Natural History Museum
  9. Beijing Police Museum

    Housed in the 19th-century former City Bank of New York in the old Legation Quarter, this surprisingly fun museum boasts displays on themes such as the suppression of counter- revolutionaries and drug dealers. Famed police dog Feisheng is here – stuffed and mounted – and there are live transmissions from a roadside traffic camera. An interactive screen poses legal questions and correct answers win prizes: it doesn’t say what the punishment is for those who answer wrongly.

    • 36 Dong Jiao Min Xiang

    • 8522 5018

    • Subway: Qian Men

    • Open 9am–4pm Tue–Sun

    • ¥5

  10. National Art Museum of China

    The largest art museum in the country, with an impressive 64,580 sq ft (6,000 sq m) of floor space, the National Art Museum of China hosts exhibitions by internationally renowned Chinese and foreign artists. Recent shows have included fascinating retro-spectives of Gerhard Richter’s paintings and Cai Guo-Qiang’s gunpowder works .

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