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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Top 5 best museums to visit in Shanghai - Preserving the history
Joanna James Joanna James
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Top 5 best museums to visit in Shanghai - Preserving the history

Shanghai is all about food, drinking, and culture. The latter is nowhere as apparent as in the numerous museums in Shanghai that are well worth a visit.


Propaganda Poster Art Centre

This is one of those museums that will make you question every conception you've had about museums. It is found in the basement of an apartment building that has no name. One would wonder how such a place exists alongside the city favourites like Ascott Heng Shan Shanghai apartment complex. But it showcases China's journey through the 20th century using an array of posters.


The Shanghai Museum of Glass

Extending beyond the usual model of a museum, this is the place to visit if you are looking to explore the aspect of functionality in art, and the unique relationship between the two. It has an area dedicated to kids, where there are interactive exhibits. They are of such quality that even adults can enjoy them. While a part of the exhibits is permanent, there are temporary exhibits and demonstrations as well. There is a stained glass chapel that you must visit. Time your site visit so that you are there in time to see the glass blowing demonstrations.


Power Station of Art

Power Station Art, also known as PSA, is a former power plant turned into a museum of contemporary art. It is also the first State-sponsored art museum in China. The architecture of the building has barely changed although its purpose has altered drastically, thus making a visit to the Power Station of Art a one of a kind experience. There are visiting exhibitions and demonstrations happening in this space on a regular basis. The Huangpu River provides a stunning backdrop to the museum, making it feel more like a short-term apartment in Shanghai than an actual museum.


Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum

China's role during the World War II is one that many remember. Shanghai was one of the cities that offered refugee visas to Jews fleeing Germany, Poland, and Austria. Around 18,000 immigrants are recorded to have entered the country during the ten years between 1930 and 1940 under this scheme. However, there was only about 2 square km of land to house all these people, and the locals of the area refused to leave. Thus, the Jewish refugees faced poor living conditions created by overcrowding. The Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum pays respect and tribute to the lives of these people.


Natural History Museum

Spread across an area of 40,000 square m, the National History Museum of Shanghai is a true delight. There are over 200,000 exhibits of plants, animals, minerals, and fragments from the stone age on display. There is a special section dedicated to extinct and rare endemic animals such as the giant panda, Yellow River mammoth, and Yangtze alligator. It is a place for the entire family and a great place to spend time in. No museum of natural history would be complete without paying homage to dinosaurs. You will find several exhibits from this period in history, too.

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