Categories: Shenzhen

Shenzhen Museum

Shenzhen’s growing fast, really fast. It’s sometimes a bit scary just how quickly things move in this city. Coming in every once in a while from Hong Kong and taking a cab through the city I’m always amazed at how empty spaces are transformed into skyscrapers, roads extended, tunnels built, stadiums erected, all in a matter of months. If there’s a city that represents the fast Chinese growth, I imagine it’s Shenzhen. There was almost nothing here 30 years ago, and now it’s one of China’s most thriving Special Economic Zones with a population bigger than Hong Kong’s.

 

In 2008 a new museum was opened in Shenzhen – the Shenzhen Museum – telling the story of this city. Having visited a few museums in China before, I wasn’t really sure what to expect, yet overall I could say it’s quite an impressive museum compared to the others I saw.

 

Shenzhen Museum

Shenzhen Museum

Shenzhen Museum

 

As you can see – the structure is quite impressive already.

 

It’s situated in a prime location surrounded by modern skyscrapers, green and wide roads…

Shenzhen Museum

Shenzhen Museum

Shenzhen Museum

 

James Baquet of the Shenzhen Daily spares no compliments with some important details:

ALTHOUGH the new Shenzhen Museum opened in late 2008, I recently visited it for the first time — and it’s nothing short of world-class.

The four permanent exhibition halls showcase Ancient Shenzhen, Modern Shenzhen, Shenzhen Folk Culture (all on the second floor), and Shenzhen’s Reform and Opening-up (on the third floor, where there’s also a rooftop verandah). A Children’s Hall and changing exhibitions can be found on the first floor.

There is ample signage in English and an audio guide in French, Japanese, Korean, English, or Chinese can be rented for just 10 yuan (with a 200-yuan deposit).

[…]

Admission is free. The museum is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday (closed Mondays except during national holidays). Last admission is at 5:30 p.m.

Remember, the museum faces east at the east end of the Shenzhen Civic Center. It is not to be confused with the old Shenzhen Museum next to Litchi Park, which is now dedicated to ancient art.

 

Let’s walk in …

Shenzhen Museum

 

 

So, yeah, the museum goes back into the far history of the city, somewhat reinventing the city story. It’s quite easy to get lost with all the long narratives of the alleged historical details, but it is all nicely played out by wax figures…

Shenzhen Museum

Shenzhen Museum

Shenzhen Museum

Shenzhen Museum

Shenzhen Museum

Shenzhen Museum

 

 

With the occasional historical relics…

Shenzhen Museum

Shenzhen Museum

Shenzhen Museum

 

 

And reconstructed exhibitions…

Shenzhen Museum 

Shenzhen Museum

 

 

To give you an example of the discomforting narrative …

Shenzhen Museum

 

There’s no doubt the museum celebrates Chinese nationalism, anti colonialism, and the power of the PRC.

 

Here are bits from the folks exhibition…

Shenzhen Museum

Shenzhen Museum

Shenzhen Museum

Shenzhen Museum

Shenzhen Museum

Shenzhen Museum

 

 

And, finally, the rise of the PRC and modern Shenzhen …

Shenzhen Museum

Shenzhen Museum

 

 

If you’re wondering what this next one is… it’s the bedroom Deng Xiao Ping slept when visiting Shenzhen…

Shenzhen Museum

 

And if that’s not enough…

Shenzhen Museum

Shenzhen Museum

Yes, the Deng Xiao Ping bus.

 

 

 

To get a sense of how fast this city is growing, here are some photoshots comparing 1985  and 2008. Quite remarkable.

Shenzhen Museum

Shenzhen Museum

Not sure you can really see all those blue skies today, but still – don’t tell me you’re not impressed. 

 

The topping on the ice-cream, ofcourse, is an exhibition of nostalgic communist propaganda throughout the years…

Shenzhen Museum

 

The museum also has an impressive website with photos far better than mine (my previous camera was stolen the day before, so this was captures with my mobile).

 

Far better than I expected, yet still not sure it’s for people who are not that into Chinese modern history as I am. Your call.

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