Hangzhou, one of the seven ancient capitals in China, is not only renowned for its beautiful West Lake and luscious greenery but also for its heritage, history and culture – all of which can be found in its many museums. Here is a guide to some of the top museums in Hangzhou which is by no means exhaustive.
The China National Silk Museum 中国丝绸博物馆 View In Map
Hangzhou or The House of Silk as it is otherwise known is home to the China National Silk Museum located south of the famous West Lake. It has four main halls for you to weave in and out of and each displays a number of informative and interesting exhibits on the history and production of silk.
There are a number of ancient silk fabrics on show, some of which are over 2,000 years old. The museum also allows you to learn about the life cycle of a silkworm and in springtime you can even see live specimens. The museum displays all kinds of traditional looms and inside the workshop you will find two modern versions to experiment with.
Weaving and dyeing demonstrations are given by expertsso, if you want to experience first hand the many processes of silk making, don’t worm yourself out of a visit but instead head out to Hangzhou’s National Silk Museum.
Add: 73-1 Yuhuang Shan Lu, Xihu District, Hangzhou
Opening Hours: Mon, 12:00-17:00; Tue-Sun, 09:00-17:00
Getting there: Bus No. K12, 809, Y3.
Huqingyu Tang Chinese Medicine Museum 胡庆余堂中药博物馆 View In Map
Located off Hangzhou’s famous Hefang street lies one of China’s hidden architectural gems. Huqingyu Hall was founded in 1874 and was converted into a museum in 1987. By 1988 the State Council had designated it as one of the national key institutions of cultural relics.
The museum is housed on two floors; the first floor is dedicated to the history of Huqingyu Tang (meaning “Hall”) and Chinese Medicine and through pictures and artefacts you will learn all there is to know about this medicine.
The ground floor displays a variety of specimen - there are jars preserved with all sorts of concoctions and you can witness pills being moulded and herbs being sliced in preparation for prescriptions. You can see these being prepared from 12:00-22:00 and you can also receive a foot massage here for 88 RMB per person. On route to the working pharmacy you can see some more of the magnificent historical architecture housing the museum.
So if you have a healthy interest in both architecture and Chinese medicine this
Museum is a fascinating place to visit.
Add: 95 Dajing Xiang, Shangcheng District, Hangzhou
Tel: 0571 8781 5209
Admission: 10 RMB
Opening Hours: Tues-Sun, 09:00-17:00
Getting there: Bus No.8 and 155
The China National Tea Museum 中国茶叶博物馆 View In Map
Surrounded by a mass of green leaves and amidst one of Hangzhou’s most beautiful natural scenery stands the China National Tea Museum. A tasteful establishment with six sections showcases the history of tea through a series of pictures and artifacts. Numerous varieties of tea are on display as well as an example of the machinery used in its production. There is a section dedicated to tea know-how and a room displaying antique tea vessels which are over 1000 years old.
Explore outside and you will find several reconstructed tea houses where you can taste the local brew whilst enjoying the beautiful surrounding scenery. There is also a tea learning culture centre where you can watch, touch and smell the many varieties and learn about tea in closer detail. The centre holds free lectures on Saturdays and other tea related courses are available in both Chinese and pigeon English; prices vary from 149 RMB to 299 RMB depending on the number of people in each group.
So if you have a thirst for knowledge then The National Tea Museum will not leave you feeling parched.
Add: Doyble Peak Village, Longjing Lu, Hangzhou
Tel: 0571 8796 4221
Opening Hours: Closed Mondays except holidays
October 8th- April 30th, 08:30-16:30;
May 1st- October 7th, 09:00-17:00
Getting there: Bus No.K27 or Y3
The Southern Song Dynasty Guan Kiln Museum 杭州南宋官窑博物馆View In Map
Situated in the south of Hangzhou is this impressive museum solely displaying
ceramic wares. Set in charming grounds are eight separate buildings – five of which are exhibition halls displaying an extensive collection of pieces from past dynasties and telling the history of ancient Chinese pottery and porcelain.
In another building there is a pottery workshop where for less than 60 RMB adults and children can have fun and create their own masterpieces. In the ancient ruin area visitors can find the preserved ruin of an 800 year old workshop which is apparently the biggest of its type in China.
A remarkable place which through ancient relics unearths the history of Chinese porcelain.
Add: 60 Nanfu Lu, Hangzhou
Tel: 0571 8608 3990/8658 4699
Opening Hours: Tues-Sun, 08:30-16:00
Getting there: Bus No. 20, 39, 308 and 809
Liangzhu Museum良渚博物馆 View In Map
Approximately 25 minutes by car from Hangzhou city centre in Liangzhu stands the Liangzhu Museum - a contemporary building whose façade bears a resemblance to the many jade relics on display inside.
Surrounded by an abundance of green, this modern masterpiece, designed by British architect David Chipperfield, bears the theme “Liangzhu Culture: Evidencing the 5,000 year old Chinese Civilisation.”
Inside are a number of courtyards each leading you to an exhibition hall. All in all, the museum houses three halls with a display of over 1,000 precious relics dating
Back to circa 5,300 to 4,300 years ago.
Through artifacts, pictures, models and interactive touch-screens (the latter not in English) you are able to witness the archeological journey from the discovery of the Liangzhu site to the recognition and verification of the Liangzhu culture and its civilisation.
There is also a section dedicated to interactive games which enables the viewer to build and make copies of the Liangzhu relics and a 4D movie theatre.
Add: 1 Meilizhou Lu, Yuhang District, Hangzhou
Tel: 0571 8877 3875
Opening Hours: Tues-Sun, 09:00-16:30
Zhejiang Natural History Museum 浙江自然博物馆 View In Map
Another modern museum situated in the centre of town. This three storey building boasts over 100,000 specimen and is a must visit for children and adults alike. At the time of writing, the ground floor had the temporary exhibition entitled ‘Monsters of the Sea’ for 10 RMB as well as a room exhibiting a tree trunk from over 100 million years ago.
The second floor exhibits the story of Earth and through artifacts and colourful scenery you are taken on a journey of evolution. The Jurassic park look-a-like is a must and there are a number of interactive games for you to enjoy. Most of the dinosaurs on display are plastic but there is a small display of skeletons that are mainly genuine.
The third floor displays a mini zoo of stuffed animals and mammals as well as a mock menagerie. There are interactive games as well as a number of touch screens but disappointingly these are not available in English.
Even though this museum has limited information in English* it is a fun outing for children of all ages.
Add: District B, Westlake Cultural Square
Tel: 0571 8806 1116
Opening Hours: Tues-Sun, 09:00-16:00
Getting there: Bus No 67, 30, 78 and 38
*Audio guides available in English
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