Beijing Capital Museum – Beijing, China - Atlas Obscura

Beijing Capital Museum

Home to over 200,000 artifacts, this museum attempts to guide visitors through the ancient history of Beijing and Imperial China. 


Despite its downright futuristic exterior, the Beijing Capitol Museum allows visitors to take a free stroll through the ancient history of Beijing and Imperial China.

Housed before 2006 at the actual Confucius Temple in Beijing, the collection of the Beijing Capital Museum includes ancient Chinaware, jade statues, paintings, and numerous likenesses of the Buddha.  Of the over 200,000 piece collection, only around 5,600 pieces are on permanent display, with the rest being stored out of sight of visitors.

These viewable pieces are displayed in a six-story building which is modern in design, but ancient in architectural origin.  An overhanging roof imitates the imperial Chinese architectural style, a decorative Ming Dynasty-era arch is embedded into the entrance hall, and stones used in the floor construction were even quarried in the town of Fangshan, an ancient supplier of building material.  The first five floors are composed of a rectangular and oval hall, each showcasing different works of archeology and art.  The sixth floor contains only the oval gallery, which is raised above the museum’s wide, flat roof.

The Beijing Capital Museum celebrates the long arc of Chinese and East Asian history, with an emphasis on the region’s rich, artful culture.  And thanks to its vast collection, the museum routinely swaps out the contents of several halls for new pieces from the archives, guaranteeing a new experience for returning travelers. 

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