Designed by local architect Xing Tonghe, the building is designed in the shape of an ancient bronze cooking vessel called a ding. It is said that the inspiration for the design was specifically provided by the Da Ke ding, now on exhibit in the museum. The building has a round top and a square base, symbolizing the ancient Chinese perception of the world as "round sky, square earth" (Chinese: 天圆地方 Tiān yuán dìfāng).
Founded in 1952 and was first open to the public in the former Shanghai Racecourse club house, now at 325 West Nanjing Road.
The founding collections came from three sources:
It is said that Shanghai Museum owes much of its current existence to Ma Chengyuan, its director from 1985 until his retirement in 1999. When a new museum was omitted from Shanghai's five-year reconstruction plan in 1992, Ma lobbied Mayor Huang Ju for its rebuilding. After seeing the dilapidated rooms of the Zhonghui Building, Huang agreed to allocate a prime site on the People's Square, but the museum had to raise its own building funds. Ma raised US$25 million by leasing the old building to a Hong Kong developer. He also made many trips abroad to solicit donations, mainly from the Shanghai diaspora who had fled to Hong Kong after the Communist revolution, raising another $10 million. The money still ran short, but he eventually won another 140 million yuan from the city government to complete the building.
The museum has a collection of over 120,000 pieces, including bronze, ceramics, calligraphy, furniture, jades, ancient coins, paintings, seals, sculptures, minority art and foreign art. The Shanghai Museum houses several items of national importance, including one of three extant specimens of a "transparent" bronze mirror from the Han Dynasty.
2.Aurora Museum ( private museum)
The Museum showcases the incredible collection of the Aurora group’s Chairman, Mr.Yung Tai Chen who, over 40 years, has gathered ancient Chinese treasures including pottery, porcelain, Buddhist statues and jade artefacts of great historical significance. The library on the 5th floor of the Aurora Museum houses a rich collection of cultural heritage literature along with a substantial amount of publications in English and Japanese.
The Aurora Museum frequently organizes lectures and learning classes that can offer the chance for participants to touch the objects in person.
3. The Long Museum
#1 3398 Longteng Ave, Xuhui Qu
#2 No. 210,Lane 2255, Luoshan Road, Pudong New Area
龙美术馆 Lóng měishù guǎn literally: "Dragon Art Museum
Liu and Wang’s collection is systematically large, covering traditional Chinese art, modern and contemporary Chinese art, “red classics” as well as contemporary art of Asia and Europe. Based on their private collections, the Long Museum is devoted not only to professional art exhibitions, researches, and collections but also to the promotion of cultural education in public. It aims to take up the responsibility of propelling continuous development and inheritance of art; focuses on the contrastive display and study of art, Western and Eastern,ancient and contemporary, while strengthening its local cultural roots;presents the diversity of visual art from a global perspective; systematically showcases the splendid achievements of Chinese art as well as the vitality of contemporary art all over the world; and eventually forges itself into a world-class private museum.
Address: 35 Fenggu Lu, near Longteng Avenue,Xuhui
The founder of the museum is Mr. Budi Tek - a Chinese-Indonesian entrepreneur, art philanthropist and collector, who opened it in 2014.
Mr. Budi Tek started his art collection over ten years ago, when he discovered art’s ability to take him to new, unknown worlds. Thus he began his journey into the world of art, and he has been a serious collector ever since. He began with Chinese contemporary paintings, especially those created between the early 1980s and late 1990s. He has built up a considerable collection of Chinese contemporary art, and is always willing to exhibit and lend his works to other accredited art institutions in order to raise the profile and understanding of Chinese contemporary art worldwide.
Located along the West Bund in Xuhui District, Yuz Museum, Shanghai is a non-profit organization under the umbrella of the Yuz Foundation. The museum will strive to promote the exhibition and development of contemporary art and to enhance the public’s understanding and appreciation of contemporary art. The space of Shanghai Yuz Museum was once the hangar of Longhua Airport. The museum boasts a total area of 9,000 square meters, among which the hangar-converted main gallery alone covers over 3,000 sqm.It rotates exhibitions from Mr. Budi Tek’s own massive collection of Western and Eastern Art.
5.Rockbund Art Museum
Address: 20 Huqiu Rd, Huangpu Qu
上海外滩美术馆 Shànghǎi Wàitān Měishùguǎn
A contemporary art museum in central Shanghai.
The museum is housed in the former Royal Asiatic Society (RAS) building, which was also home to one of China's first modern museums.
Started in 1932, the Art Deco RAS building was part of the history of 19th and 20th century Sino-European cultural and academic exchange. At its height, this five-story building, which contained a lecture hall, a library, and a museum, received over 7,000 visits a month. Bringing together the functions of scholarly research, cultural exchange and public education under one roof, this structure was unique in Shanghai at the time.
The museum is dedicated to being an influential, innovative, sustainable organization devoted to the promotion of projects within the field of international contemporary art.There are no permanent collections.
6.The Propaganda Poster Art Center
Address: Bldg B, 868 Huashan Lu, near Fuxing Lu
上海宣传画艺术中心 Shànghǎi Xuānchuánhuà Yìshù Zhōngxīn
It exhibits posters from the Maoist period of communist China, especially from the Cultural Revolution period. The museum is located in the basement of an apartment building in Huashan Road facing Wukang Road, in the former French Concession area. It consists of only two rooms, however with a rich collection of rare last-piece posters.
7.Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum
Address: 62 Changyang Rd, Hongkou Qu
The Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum is a museum commemorating the Jewish refugees who lived in Shanghai during World War II after fleeing Europe to escape the Holocaust. It is located at the former Ohel Moshe or Moishe Synagogue, in the Tilanqiao Historic Area of Hongkou district, in what was once the Jewish Quarter of Shanghai, which had had a Jewish community since the later 19th century.
The Ohel Moshe congregation was established by Russian Jewish immigrants in Shanghai in 1907.This Ashkenazi congregation was named after Moshe Greenberg, a member of the Russian Jewish community, and was first established in a rented space. As the congregation grew to 250 families by the 1920s, Rabbi Meir Ashkenazi, Chief Rabbi of Shanghai, supported the creation of a new space for the congregation.
The synagogue was confiscated by the government after the communist takeover in 1949 and converted into a psychiatric hospital. It was also used for office space. It reopened in the 1990s.
The No. 2 Exhibition Hall, completed in 2007, displays more than 140 historical photographs and other artifacts including artworks, a refugee's passport, copies of the Shanghai Jewish Chronicle, and a stone tablet engraved with the words of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin during his visit to Shanghai. A documentary film about the refugees is also shown in the hall. The No. 3 Exhibition Hall was completed in May 2008, and is used for temporary exhibits.
8.China’s Textile History Museum
Address: Donghua University, 849 Zhongshan W Rd, Changning Qu
"Most of the unearthed pieces were found in Xinjiang, Tibet and some inland areas along the Yellow River, where Chinese civilization was centered in ancient times.So hardly anyone living in coastal areas was aware of these traditional textiles."
Tie-dyed and wax-painted material produced by Chinese ethnic minorities are also show-cased. The museum provides an informative overview of Chinese textiles.
Address: No.800 East Kangqiao Road,Nanhui District
In its new Shanghai Headquarters, opened in late 2005, the company opened a fashion museum for the public. In the museum, there are ancient and ethnic costumes and accessories, many not even found in national museums.
10. Shanghai History Museum
Address: former Shanghai Race Club, 325 West Nanjing Road, Huangpu Qu
上海市历史博物馆 Shànghǎi Shì Lìshǐ Bówùguǎn
The Shanghai History Museum was established in 1983 as the "Shanghai History and Artefacts Exhibition Hall". It first opened to the public on May 27, 1984 on the premises of the Shanghai Agriculture Exhibition.The museum was moved to a new location (1286 Hong Qiao Road) and renamed to the "Shanghai History Museum" in 1991. The main museum was closed due to land redevelopment in 1999, but "temporary" exhibitions of the museum's holdings continue to be mounted elsewhere. Since May 2001, the museum has maintained an exhibition room at the base of the Oriental Pearl Tower in Lujiazui, called the "Shanghai History and Development Exhibition", with select items from the museum's collection.
The museum was reopened in its full and extended size in 2018 at the club house of the former Shanghai Race Club.
The museum's collections focus on the approximately a hundred years in the history of Shanghai from the opening of the port in 1843 to the communist take-over in 1949. The museum's oldest relics are from 6,000 years ago.