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Beijing Municipal Commission of Tourism Development

Beijing’s Best Private Museums

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Beijing has more than 20 independently run museums that offer a chance to experience cultural collections at a depth rarely encountered at the national level. Guanfu Museum Guanfu Museum has the distinction of being China’s first private museum. Since 1997, its collection has grown thanks to the continued effort of antiques connoisseur Ma Weidu. Guanfu takes its name from a passage in Laozi’s Tao Te Ching: “Wan wu bing zuo, wu yi guan fu,” which means those who want to understand the world must study history. The museum offers antiques fans one such chance to explore ancient culture.The spacious museum displays more than 1,000 antiques that Ma has collected since the 1980s. During that era, Beijing did not have an antiques market. Ma’s collection has its roots in a semi-black market near Yuyuantan Park, which he passed every day on his commute to work.Ma’s collection is divided into halls of exquisite ceramics, classic furniture, ancient doors and windows, traditional crafts and oil paintings. Many of the pieces are so unusual that they can’t be found in any national collection. Guanfu’s famous treasures include a drawing table made from rosewood and a pair of southern-style doors and windows that were delicately decorated with historic figures from Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

18 Jinnan Lu, Zhangwanfen, Dashanzi, Chaoyang

9 am-5 pm (admission ends at 4 pm; closed Mondays at 3 pm)

50 yuan

Take Subway Lines 2 or 13 to Dongzhimen Station. Follow Exit C. Transfer to Buses 688 or 418 and get off at Zhangwanfen.Cui Yongping’s Shadow Puppetry MuseumThe use of skin to create shadow puppets has its roots in the Han Dynasty (206 BC – AD 220), making it roughly 1,700 years older than arts like Peking Opera.Skin shadow puppet performances make use of folk painting, sculpture and music. Cui Yongping’s Shadow Puppetry Museum, which opened in 2004, is the best place to learn how these folk arts come together.Located in a residential area of Tongzhou, the museum space was created by fusing three residential apartments. It houses more than 30,000 puppets collects from across the country.Cui, now in his 70s, is a former artist and leader of the China Shadow Puppetry Troup. After retirement, Cui and his wife opened their private museum to promote and protect the endangered art.There are seven halls in which visitors can explore the process of making a skin shadow puppet, how to conduct a performance and how China’s puppetry tradition has evolved over time.The end of the museum also has a small theater that seats 50 people where Cui and his wife put on shadow puppetry shows.

Unit 4, Building 16, Jinqiaohuayuan, Majuqiao, Tongzhou

9 am-noon; 2-5:30 pm

30 yuan

Take the Subway Line 10 to Shilihe Station. Follow Exit B. Transfer to Bus 975 and get off at Majuqiaoyihao.Beijing Classic Car MuseumWhile most classic car museums only attract auto buffs, that’s hardly the case at Beijing Classic Car Museum. The museum is more focused on interesting stories and brands than the technical abilities of each machine.Built in 2009, the museum is owned by Luo Wen, a 59-year-old car enthusiast. Luo started his collection with a secondhand Poland Warsaw and spent his entire life expanding the collection. His private museum is a record of the auto industry’s development in China.The museum has collected more than 160 classic and antique cars including nearly every car produced domestically before the 1980s. The Red Flag series is the most impressive of the exhibition, as the cars enjoy a reputation for being China’s best and a favorite of political leaders.Special vehicles include the Red Flag used by Mao Zedong for military parades, the medical vehicle of Zhou Enlai and the daily auto for Nie Rongzhen.

19 Fengxiangyiyuan, Yangsong Zhen, Huairou

9 am-4:30 pm

50 yuanTake the Subway Lines 2 or 13 to Dongzhimen Station. Follow Exit B. Transfer to Bus 916 and get off at Nanhua Shichang. Transfer to Bus 916 branch line and get off at Zhongying Jidi.

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