Shanghai Museum

The Shanghai Museum is regarded by many as the best in China and is one of the most famous museums in the world. It was first established in 1952 at West Nanjing Road before being moved to He'nan South Road in 1959. In 1992 the government decided to move it again and on October 12 1996 it was officially opened in its purpose-built new home on the People's Square in the Huangpu area of Shanghai. An ancient cooking utensil called a "Ding" provided the inspiration for the building's unique design and the round roof over a square base symbolizes ancient Chinese beliefs of a square earth under a round sky.

The Museum displays priceless ancient Chinese artifacts and has over 120,000 pieces in its collection. At present it is divided into eleven galleries. Five of the galleries – Ancient Chinese Bronzes, Ceramics, Paintings, Calligraphy and Ming and Qing-dynasty Furniture, hold items unlike any other. They are not only especially important in Chinese history, but also renowned among museums all around the world. Other galleries include jades, sculpture, currency, seals and Arts and Crafts of China's national minorities. There are also three special exhibition halls for holding different exhibitions from both China and abroad.

An information center, a lecture room and a library with 200,000 volumes are also included within the museums walls.

Information on the displays is given in both Chinese and English and you can also hire an audio guide in a number of different languages to guide you around the museum.

The only downside of the museum is that it is restricted to 5000 visitors a day although admission is free, so an early arrival is essential.