Located south of Hangzhou’s West Lake, the UNESCO World Heritage–listed China National Silk Museum (NSM) is the largest museum in the world devoted to silk. In addition to an extensive collection of silk garments, textiles, and relics, the museum covers 5,000 years of silk development, history, and culture across eight galleries.
You can easily spend a few hours exploring the China National Silk Museum’s 86,110 square feet (8,000 square meters) of exhibition space, which are set on an area of more than a half-million square feet (50,000 square meters). There is a lot to see, including textiles from the Han and Tang dynasties, modern-day cheongsams, and traditional weaving machines. The museum’s proximity to West Lake and other top Hangzhou sights make it easy to visit the museum and other attractions on the same day, either independently or as part of a guided tour covering other landmarks such as Leifeng Pagoda and Qinghefang Ancient Street. If visiting on your own, guided museum tours are available by appointment.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The China National SIlk Museum is a must-see for fashion and textile lovers, and those interested in the history of the Silk Road.
- Admission to the museum is free.
- Audio guides in Chinese and English are free, though an ID and refundable deposit are required to borrow one.
- The museum is accessible to wheelchairs, which are available for free.
- A teahouse and gift shop are located on the museum grounds.
How to Get There
The museum is located at the southern side of West Lake, at No. 73-1 Yuhuangshan Road in the Shangcheng district. A number of buses stop at the museum, including 4, 12, 31, 42, 87, and 133. Alternatively, take a taxi or ride a bicycle around West Lake to the museum.
When to Get There
The museum is open from 12pm to 5pm Monday and 9am to 5pm Tuesday to Sunday year-round. The exhibition halls are cleared out 15 minutes prior to closing. On weekends and national holidays, the Textile Conservation Gallery is closed.
The Galleries and Exhibitions of the China National Silk Museum
After an extensive renovation in 2016, the museum reopened with impressive updates to its permanent galleries, including the Story of Chinese Silk, Sericulture and Silk Craftsmanship in China, the Textile Conservation Gallery, and the Xinyou Archive Center. These galleries are complemented by a variety of changing exhibitions covering various topics related to silk, textiles, and relics—particularly those of Chinese origin.