About China

13 Fascinating Museums in Guangzhou

By That's PRD | 2017-01-06 |   4001

Guangzhou, or Canton as it was previously known, boasts a long and proud history, with human settlement here dating back to prehistoric times. It should come as no surprise then that Guangzhou is home to an impressive number and variety of museums, from the celebrated Guangdong Museum in Zhujiang New Town to the International Beer Museum in Haizhu.

Whether you're interested in local history, dinosaurs or beer, a museum is a great way to burn a couple hours on a miserable day. To help you decide what institution you should check out, we have compiled this list of 13 fascinating Guangzhou museums:

Museum of the Mausoleum of the Nanyue King 

One of the most significant archaeological discoveries in China, the 2,000-year-old mausoleum of King Zhao Mo showcases a great trove of artifacts, including the renowned jade burial suit. Apart from Chinese artifacts, some pieces from Central Asia have been unearthed at the site, such as a Persian silver box, the earliest imported product found to date. From 137 BC to 122 BC, Zhao ruled the short-lived Kingdom of Nanyue, which consisted of parts of Guangdong, Guangxi and Yunnan provinces, as well as northern Vietnam. Hidden 20 meters underground, the tomb was brought to light in 1983, while the museum was opened above it in 1988.

Daily, 9am-5.30pm; RMB12. See listing for the Museum of the Mausoleum of the Nanyue King.

Guangdong Museum

Housed in a striking structure built to resemble a traditional treasure box, the Guangdong museum is most popular with youngsters (of all ages) for its dinosaur room. There’s a lot more than just fossilized remains to take in, however: the total collection comprises over 160,000 pieces. Notable permanent exhibitions explore Guangdong culture and handicrafts, from Duan inkstones and Chaozhou woodcarving to locally produced porcelain and calligraphic works.

Tue-Sun, 9am-5pm; free with presentation of valid ID. See listing for Guangdong Museum.

Zhujiang-InBev International Beer Museum

A museum where you can throw back unlimited cold ones after learning about the art of brewing? Jackpot! This Zhujiang Beer-operated gem displays the history of beer in China, traces the evolution of historical production techniques to the present day and features a room that emulates what it feels like to be drunk. Who says learning has to be a sober activity?

8.30am-12 noon, 1-4.45pm; RMB50. See listing for Zhujiang-InBev International Beer Museum.

Cantonese Opera Art Museum

Opened late last year, this technology-infused museum – complete with picturesque traditional garden – brings all the details of Cantonese opera to life via a series of exhibits that may cause sensory overload. Costumes, instruments, musical stars and political history are all touched upon through CGI clips, iPads and other gadgetry. Despite its newness (and, no doubt, expense), Chinglish still abounds, though you’ll be able to understand the gist of the various plaques.

Tue-Sun, 9am-5pm; free with presentation of ID. See listing for Cantonese Opera Art Museum.

Chen Clan Academy

Constructed at the tail end of the Qing Dynasty, this complex has served several purposes over time: temple for ancestor worship, place of study and, today, museum of Guangdong folk arts. The beautiful traditional buildings with their ornately carved roofs contain painting, porcelain, sculpture and other examples of creative handicrafts from the region.

Daily, 8.30-5.30pm; RMB10. See listing for Chen Clan Academy.

Guangzhou Museum

Zhenhai Tower is the Canton Tower of yesteryear. An iconic five-story building in Yuexiu Park that dates back to the beginning of the Ming dynasty, it also houses the Guangzhou Museum. Largely dedicated to relatively recent political events and a smattering of examples of prime exports from the last 200 years – with some natural history thrown in for good measure – it is divided into four main sectors: Zhenhai Tower Exhibition Area, Art Gallery Exhibition Area, Memorial of the Anti-British Invasion of Sanyuanli People and Memorial of the March 29th Uprising Headquarters.

Daily, 9am-5pm; RMB10. See listing for Guangzhou Museum.

Guangdong Museum of Art

Sat in the middle of the Pearl River on Ersha Island, the Guangdong Museum of Art is home to works depicting modern China and overseas Chinese. Spread across 12 exhibition halls, the permanent collection includes contemporary pieces of fine art specifically relevant to Guangdong (especially those by the Lingnan school of painting) and China’s coastal areas, as well as works by overseas Chinese artists. In addition, the museum contains a vast array of sculptures and ceramic crafts, as well as other artworks that are important to art history. A variety of visiting exhibitions featuring pieces by world-famous artists are also hosted here.

Tue-Sun, 9am-5pm; free on presentation of valid ID. See listing for Guangdong Museum of Art.

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