China's latest boom: Museums
When it comes to number of museums, Beijing now ranks second in the world, surpassed only by London, according to the China News Service (CNS). London is at the top of the list with more than 300 museums, while Beijing is home to 159.
With 3,020 museums, China is well ahead of the United Kingdom, which has around 2,500 museums.
Every year, approximately 100 new museums open in China, CNS reported.
Since 2008, the Chinese government has poured money into the country's museums and memorial halls, allocating around RMB 5.2 billion ($803.9 million). More than 1,700 Chinese museums do not charge admission, representing about 58 percent of the total.
Beijing, Shanghai and Xi’an share the most interesting and exciting museums in the country from both a historical and cultural perspective. Beijing has 159 registered museums, Shanghai around 100 and Xi’an 47.
Of these, the following three are considered premier museums, not to be missed by visitors.
The National Museum of China, Beijing
The National Museum of China (NMC) bills itself as the largest museum in the world. Its 48 galleries house more than 1 million exhibits featuring 5,000 years of Chinese art and culture.
16 East Chang'an Avenue, Dongcheng District, Beijing 北京东城区东长安街16号 Tuesday-Sunday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m., free. www.chnmuseum.cn
Shanghai Museum of Glass, Shanghai
Located in a former glass factory, the 6,250-square-meter Shanghai Museum of Glass has shifted this industrial space’s function from production to art, education and exhibition, all centered around the theme, “Glass is a language of art and science.”
A favorite area is a demonstration space for live glass-blowing shows.
685 Changjiang Xi Lu, near Gangsi Lu, Baoshan district, 宝山区长江西路685号, 近钢四路, 9.30 a.m.-4.30p.m., RMB 20. en.shmog.org
Terracotta Warrior Museum, Xi’an
Visitors view the famed terracotta army in three exhibition pits, arranged in battle formation. Approximately 8,000 clay warriors and horses, and more than 10,000 bronze weapons, have been found in the pits here.
The museum -- a UNESCO World Heritage site -- is a treasure house of China’s first dynasty, Qin military affairs, science and technology and art and culture.
East of Lintong City, Lintong District Xi’an 西安市临潼区近郊临潼城东, March 16-November 14, 8:30a.m.-5:30 p.m., November 15-March 15, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., December–February, RMB 120 March–November, RMB150 www.bmy.com.cn