Considered one of the finest museums in China, the Shanghai Museum has a vast collection of Chinese artifacts from the Neolithic period onward. The museum’s 11 state-of-the-art galleries display ancient bronze, jade, and ceramics; painting, calligraphy, and ancient sculptures; and Ming and Qing dynasty furniture.
The collections of the Shanghai Museum are so extensive, visitors would do well to prioritize the sections of interest to them. One highlight is the impressive ancient bronze gallery, featuring the world’s largest collection of ancient Chinese bronze artifacts. Other top galleries include the ancient sculpture gallery, the painting gallery, and the jade gallery.
Admission to the museum is free, but tickets are required; pick up a free ticket on the day of your visit. Many half-day and full-day Shanghai tours include a visit to the museum along with other city highlights such as Yuyuan Garden, the Bund, and Jade Buddha Temple. Some tours include a cruise on the Huangpu River.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Shanghai Museum is a must for those interested in Chinese history or art.
- Audio guides in different languages are available for a fee.
- Luggage can be stored at the museum with a security deposit.
- The Shanghai Museum is fully wheelchair accessible, and wheelchairs are available to use free of charge.
- There are two restaurants and a teahouse on-site.
How to Get There
The Shanghai Museum is located at 201 Renmin Avenue, People’s Square. To get there by public transit, take metro line 1, 2, or 8 to People’s Square Station (Exit 1) and walk south. Alternatively, take the City Sightseeing Bus, line 1 or 2, and get off at the museum.
When to Get There
With over 120,000 items, the museum has a lot to see, and visitors can easily spend half a day or more trying to cover it all. Arrive early to secure one of the 8,000 tickets issued daily and visit the galleries in order of your personal interest. Weekday visits are more peaceful, and the museum is closed Monday.
Shanghai Museum’s Unusual Design
The design of the museum is a visual representation of the Chinese concept of a round heaven and a square earth—a round structure on a square base, similar to the design of many ancient buildings. It also reflects the shape of an ancient bronze cooking pot known as a ding, many examples of which are on display in the ancient bronze gallery.