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“A great collection of objects - free of charge”

National Museum Of China
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Private Essence City Tour in Beijing
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Private Tour: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, and Great Wall
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5-Hour Small Group Walking Tour: Beijing Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City
Ranked #30 of 1,609 things to do in Beijing
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Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: This museum features changing exhibits related to political themes such as the Opium Wars, the founding of the Communist Party, the Sino-French and Sino-Japanese Wars, the Japanese War, the 1911 Revolution and the social unrest of 1989.
Finspang, Sweden
Level 6 Contributor
154 reviews
105 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
“A great collection of objects - free of charge”
Reviewed February 5, 2014

The National museum of Beijing is situated right next to the Tiananmen square, to the right looking at the palace museum. This big museum is free of charge and the only thing you need to be in possession of is your passport, when shown at the ticket hall you'll get a ticket. This procedure is not that obvious as there are automatic ticket machines for holders of Chinese IDs, as a tourist you have to go to the counter, although the representative at the desk is not always so informative that this is how it works.
But when in the museum, after going through the customary security check where you even have to taste your water, you will find a great collection of objects. Actually one of the better ones I've seen. There are permanent as well as temporary exhibitions. This is quite a large building and some of the exhibitions areas are not at use at all times. Except the regular exhibitions you might expect to find there is also, when I visited, two more propagande like ones, one with gifts that the Chinese state has received from visiting foreign heads of state and one exhibition explaining why China is great.
As this museum has so many exhibitions, with many great objects, and is free this museum should make its way onto your schedule. And by the way, being such an important museum I'll bet this house has some of the cleanest air in Beijing.

Visited November 2013
2 Thank Fredrik N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Wokingham, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
281 reviews
117 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 96 helpful votes
“Nartional Museum in Beijing displays an amazing civilisation and see Terracotta Warrior pieces”
Reviewed January 25, 2014

The National Museum is on Tianneman Square and it is huge. It is useful to have a guide to take you in to navigate the queuing system but then go round on your own. There are airport style security checks - do not take aerosol cans - my hairspray was taken off me.
The museum is huge so you have to choose which parts you want to visit. We chose Ancient China first and it was amazing. This was an advanced civilisation. What was a real bonus was that we also saw Terracotta Army pieces - 2 life size men with large horse and a large number of smaller men. As we were onlyvisiting Beijing, this was a real bonus. The displays had writing in Chinese and English here.
We then went to porcelain to see Ming vases which were impressive. Only Chinese explanations here.
Next to this was a display of gifts from foreign dignatories to Chinese presidents. This was really interesting as it also had some photos. Margaret Thatcher and John Major were both there presenting lovely British gifts (Wedgewood and silver).
The shops are good for gifts.

Visited January 2014
1 Thank lyndac00per
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level 6 Contributor
239 reviews
79 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 102 helpful votes
“Excellent collection.”
Reviewed January 24, 2014

Bad news first: the entry procedure can be annoying. You have to line up to get a ticket (free) which you then show to a security guard to get in (why, if the ticket is free?!). Then you have to check in any bags to the check room after having those bags x-rayed. Then go through a complete frisk search a-la TSA and then walk through another metal detector. By this time security are confident enough that you are not going to blow up, burn, steal or otherwise deface the national treasures to actually let you wander around with more than suspicious glances.
Is it worth it? It depends: if you're an antiquities geek with a China bent, then this place will get your juices flowing big time! You can spend a whole day here and check out the biggest collection of ancient bronzes, ceramics and art just about anywhere. If you're not, then it's just another museum, however I loved the place.
There are also plenty of souvenir buying opportunities at the many gift shops, and the quality of tat is better than most places.
Check out the exhibit of gifts given by foreign dignitaries: presented "tribute style", there are some delightfully tacky examples of gift giving here.
The cafe tries to be Western style: the coffee is good but avoid the sandwiches- pre made and very nasty!

Visited January 2014
1 Thank TenRingShanghai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Zurich, Switzerland
Level 5 Contributor
44 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
Reviewed January 15, 2014

I spent the whole day in the National Museum (did not manage to see it all of course) and did not get bored at all - there were so many beautiful things on display! It was the first museum I visited in China though, so I don't know if someone who has already seen other Chinese museums would find it as impressive.

The building itself is beautiful and has been recently renovated. Unfortunately, it is not so easy to find out which exhibitions are housed in the museum and where to find them. After 15 min of wandering around the huge entrance hall and trying to figure out where to start, I just gave up, went up to the top floor and started to walk the exhibition halls more or less randomly.

With hindsight, it was probably not the best approach, since the main Ancient China exhibition is actually in the basement and the upper floors mostly house small temporary exhibitions (e.g. Chinese money, old fans, pottery, jade, ancient bronze, Buddha statues, diplomatic gifts, Italian opera, Ming and Qing furniture). On the positive side, small size of these exhibitions allowed for short breaks every hour or so (which saved me from being completely exhausted by the end of the day). Luckily, my first exhibition (Chinese money) had excellent English captions and short descriptions of each historical period - knowledge that came useful later for the exhibitions with zero or scarce English translation.

Another mistake I did was not to take any food with me. There supposed to be a restaurant, but it was closed that day (or maybe it has never been open since the renovation) and the cafeteria had a rather small choice of food (and by the time I got there at 2 pm, they were out of many things).

Visited November 2013
1 Thank madalison
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed January 13, 2014

Despite having moderated my expectations, I was still disappointed with the range and quality of some of the collections at the museum. This is after all THE National Museum of China. Perhaps they could consider consolidating non-palace related exhibits from the palace museum to lend strength to the national museum. This will also allow the palace museum to focus on the lives of (and artifacts from) emperors, empresses, concubines, eunuchs and other palace intrigues.

Visited October 2013
Thank mapleleaf2727
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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