Capital Museum, Beijing
architects: AREP and China Architecture Design and Research Group
Formally opened on May 18, 2006
The Capital Museum, opened in May 2006, makes the most of its well-designed, modernist building to display the history and culture of Beijing in a refreshingly contemporary style.
The museum, with 5 floors above ground and 2 underground, combines classical and modern aesthetic concepts. The huge roof has traditional upturned eaves; the grey stone screen wall follows the style of traditional Beijing architecture. The slanting, protruding wall of the elliptical bronze hall signifies the bringing to light of ancient artifacts.
The museum has a rich collection of objects from various periods of China's history, most them unearthed in the Beijing region. The core exhibitions of the Museum center on the history, culture and construction of the ancient capital. Another highlight of the Museum is the imaginatively designed exhibition on the folk customs of old Beijing, showing how life was lived in the capital in the late Qing dynasty and early Republican period. The Museum's collection of ancient bronzes is particularly strong, and forms the focus of a separate exhibition on bronze arts in the Yan region (Yan was an ancient name for the Beijing area). The Capital Museum also has a lively program of temporary and visiting exhibitions, which are an important addition to the cultural life of the capital.