Shanghai Natural History Museum
Updated: 2015-04-24


Dinosaur models are on display at Shanghai Natural History Museum in Shanghai. [Photo provided to]

Last Sunday, 10,400 visitors swarmed into the new Shanghai Natural History Museum, making the reopened museum the most popular destination in the city.

With a new building resembling a green nautilus, the architecture has been a cultural and educational landmark in Shanghai.

As one of China’s largest museums, it boasts nearly 290,000 specimens, and displays 11,000 items at any given time, including a complete 140-million-year-old dinosaur skeleton Mamenchisaurus.

There are also rare specimens that cannot be seen elsewhere outside China, such as the Yellow River mammoth, giant salamander, giant panda, and Yangtze Alligator.

“We are determined to showcase the best exhibits to visitors,” said Liang Zhaozheng, an associate curator of the museum.

For the past two years, the museum has been collecting items from all over the world. Now, its collection includes plesiosaurs and mosasaurss from the US, mammoths and trilobites from Russia, polycotylus from Morocco, and bongos from the Africa. Among the 8,000 specimens collected from other countries, 1,000 are rare species and 70 percent are displayed in China for the first time.

“Visitors can feel the vastness and magnificence of nature in the museum. I believe this will have positive influence on their view of the world,” Liang said.

The Shanghai Natural History Museum was established in 1956 in the former Shanghai Cotton Exchange Building, a classical British structure built in 1923. It was formerly located at east Yan’an Road in Huangpu district and designated a Heritage Building by the Shanghai Municipal Government in 1994. After the Yan’an Elevated Road was constructed in front of the building, authorities decided to relocate the museum to a new spot in Jing’an Sculpture Park.

The newly-opened museum exhibits its collections according to different themes.

“Traditionally, specimens are displayed in clusters of groups, species, genus, families, orders, classes, phyla and finally into kingdoms. The new museum gave up the old-fashioned method and creatively displays collections in 10 themes, such as the mystery of the world’s origin, evolving of the world and exploring polar regions,” said Zhang Yunfei, vice-director of nature history research center of the museum.

In exploring polar regions, species living in the North Pole, South Pole and the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, dubbed the world’s third pole, are exhibited in one place---pigeons, polar bears, walrus and other species of animals and plants.

The new museum also offers 200 short films, 100 electronic images and introductions, 100 interactive devices to meet the demands of visitors growing up in the multi-media age.

In addition, a multi-media show will be regularly put on at the region themed Walking into Africa, where visitors can watch the powerful great migration of animals in prairie.

With five floors in total, the museum can hold over 5,000 people at a time. To ensure a safe and comfortable experience, the museum will slow down or halt admissions once the number of visitors exceeds 4,000. The daily maximum capacity is 13,860 people.

Food and beverages are available for purchase on the first basement floor. A dessert house and vending machines are also on site.

Shanghai Natural History Museum
9 am to 5:15 pm, Tuesday to Sunday
Admission is 30 yuan ($4.8) for adults, with discounts or free admission for seniors, students and children.
Tickets are sold from 8:55 am to 4:30 pm at the museum, while e-tickets are available on the museum website at Currently, the site is only in Chinese.

Copyright © 2019 Shanghai Municipal Education Commission. All rights reserved.