• Blog
  • Things to Do

Take a free VR tour through some of the best museums in Shanghai and other cities in China

Get cultured while stuck at home

Photograph: Yang Xiaozhe
While stuck at home, why not get cultured at museums that you wouldn't otherwise have time for? As China is advising everybody to stay indoors, some of the best museums in Shanghai and other cities across the country are putting their exhibitions online in VR format for free. Here is a list of good ones worth your time.

Shanghai Museum

Shanghai Museum curates three special virtual exhibitions under themes that are traditionally associated with Chinese New Year – ‘Letter from the Spring’ shows crafts with plum blossom motifs, ‘Ruyi’ exhibits a collection of auspicious jade works and ‘Fish Abundance’ covers artefacts with carp motifs. The interface is in Chinese, but it is definitely worth a browse if you are into ancient Chinese arts and crafts. 

Read more
201 People's AvenueFree

Shanghai Luxun Museum

Nestled inside Luxun Park in Hongkou, the museum houses artefacts from the beloved writer Lu Xun, who was also a major contributor to the modernisation of Chinese culture. Fans of the left-wing writer can gain a better picture of his life, discover anecdotes behind some of his most well-known works, be dazzled by an impressive collection of cover art from the writer’s published works and really get a better understanding of him. Both the interface and the audio guide are in Chinese. Click here to take a tour. 

Read more
200 Tian'ai Lu

Shanghai Auto Museum

The virtual tour takes automobile fans inside the museum that houses over 100 cars from 50 brands from China and abroad, spanning 100 years of automobile history including an 1886 Benz Parent Motor Wagon, a 1927 Cadillac LaSalle and a 1950 Jaguar XK 120, if the names ring any bells. While non-automobile fans may feel lost in the collection of antique cars and their parts, it is definitely worth a browse for those who have never been to the museum or who just want to see gorgeous cars. Click here to see what's inside.

Read more
7565 Boyuan Lu

Pearl Art Museum

The virtual tour takes you through the exhibition of Czech Art Nouveau maestro Alphonse Mucha, which was exhibited at the Pearl Art Museum from March to July 2019. The beautiful show features more than 200 original works ranging from posters to decorations and jewellery to drawings, photography and the artist’s personal belongings, some of which have never previously been shown. Click here to see the exhibition. 

Read more
1588 Wuzhong Lu

Jiushi Art Museum

Shanghai Jiushi Art Museum, a comparatively new addition to Shanghai’s art scene, puts most of its past exhibitions online, including one of the oil paintings of Shanghai heritage buildings and another of traditional Chinese figure painting. Located on the sixth floor of the iconic Bund 27, home to the House of Roosevelt, the seven-story building with a Modern Renaissance style was built in 1922. Click here to see some of the online exhibitions. 

Read more
27 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu

Shanghai History Museum

A beautiful and detailed online tour to the horserace-club-turned-museum that houses more than a thousand relics and chronicles 6,000 years of history from the Shanghai region. If you have ever wondered what Old Shanghai was like, you can find the answer here. Divided into two sections – Ancient Shanghai and Modern Shanghai – the museum traces the political, social, economic and cultural evolution of the city from 4000BCE to the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949. Click here to start the tour.

Read more
325 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Jiujiang Lu
The Panoramic Palace Museum

The Panoramic Palace Museum

The most stunning virtual tour on the list, it gives a panoramic view of the Beijing Palace Museum, better known as The Forbidden City, which used to act as the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of imperial rule in 1912. Accompanied by imperial music, the VR tour itself is a work of art and it’s definitely worthy of your time – you’ll never see a completely empty Palace Museum in real life. Click here to see what's hidden inside. 


Suzhou Museum

Suzhou Museum

Located in the historic quarter of Suzhou an hour away from Shanghai, Suzhou Museum is an exquisite piece of architecture designed by the late Chinese-American architect IM Pei who is also known for the glass pyramid in front of the Louvre in Paris and the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong. The VR tour allows you to take a look at the architecture that blends Suzhou characteristics so well with modern sensibility. Prepared to be dazzled by the artistry in an incredible 3D version that allows you to take a 360-degree look at this treasure. Click here to take a glimpse. 

Sanxingdui site

Sanxingdui site

If archaeology is your thing, then this one is for you. Located in the north of Chengdu, the Sanxingdui excavation site houses bronze artefacts that are more than 3,000 years old and may have belonged to the ancient kingdom of Shu. The virtual tour takes you on a journey of hundreds of exquisite artefacts including bronze, gold, stone and jade that challenges the traditional theory that Chinese civilisation originated from the central plains of the Yellow River. Click here to have a look. 

Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum

Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum

This is the excavation site of a huge number of life-sized terra cotta soldiers and horses in Xian, buried together with Emperor Qinshihuang (259-210 BC), the first emperor to unify Imperial China. The VR tour gives a two-million-pixel resolution look at the museum, where you can not only zoom in to see each warrior in great detail, but also can ‘walk’ down the excavation pit to see the statues up close, which is normally forbidden to tourists. Click here to visit the site.


Read more

Comments