unknown museums

4 Great Unknown Museums In China

Culture and history are things that are very easy to find in China. The deep roots that provide the basis for this country give thousands of years of incredible and fascinating history. This has been preserved through the many temples, religious shrines, and museums that are swarmed by tourists every year. But what if you want to see something a bit more obscure? Are there museums in China that travel a bit off the beaten path? Absolutely! Below you’ll see some of our favorite unknown museums in China, and why you should visit them!

Shanghai Museum of Propaganda Posters

This private collection is full of posters dating between 1949 and 1979. There are over 5000 prints on display currently and are equipped with very detailed descriptions and explanations in English. It documents the incredible history of the PRC. It shows how hard they fought to win the battle for Communism by what they told people. The picture that they painted of a perfect socialist community is incredible.

Propaganda poster

Along with these pro-Communist posters, there is a second hall that is devoted to the denouncement posters that were presented by the people. This is an incredible slice of history that digs deep into the events of that time. It is located at Huashan Lu in Shanghai.

Xiannongtan, the Temple of Agriculture

This temple was originally used during the Ming and Qing Dynasties as a place of worship. In there, sacrifices were presented to the god of Agriculture, whose name was Xiannong. In an unusual and strange tradition, the emperor would also attend this ceremony but would leave behind his royal clothing and dress as a peasant farmer in an attempt to fool the god.

The buildings have been used for different purposes over the years, they have now been transformed into a museum that helps visitors understand this important part of Beijing’s history. It is located in the Xicheng district, very near to the Natural History Museum and the Temple of Heaven.

China Watermelon Museum

Just outside of Beijing in the township of Penggezhuang, this strange and fascinating museum documents the history of the watermelon. The displays trace from its beginnings in southern Africa, to how it spread throughout the world and became a major part of Beijing agriculture. A little-known fact: the area just south of Beijing is one of the biggest producers of watermelon in the world. Inside you will find more about the growing methods and types of watermelon, and how they factor into the culture of China. You will also see ancient poems that mention watermelons, and artistic renderings of this succulent fruit. You will find this museum in the corner of the Panggezhuangqiao intersection in Penggezhuang.


M50 Art District

Acting as a sort of Chinese version of Soho, this neighborhood that was once a textile district, has been taken over by artists. The original mill at 50 Moganshan Road (the address from which the current name is derived) was shut down, and local artist Xue Song started creating the art scene in the wake of its collapse. Other artists followed, and now there are over 120 galleries and studios in the area. Many of them are open to the public for free! The nearest Shanghai metro station is at Changshou Road. The best way to get to the actual neighborhood would be to take a taxi from there to the address of the old mill.


Chinese culture has its roots far back into the history of humankind, and its culture is still changing and growing to this day. It is definitely an adventure to see and be a part of this country and watch history being made. Of course, the best way to do so is to go beyond just sticking your toes in the water. Take the full plunge! If you are truly a world traveler and a museum lover, the idea of visiting these unknown museums in the Land of Dragons must appeal to you. The best part of visiting these museums is that finding them is a relatively easy task. Meaning, you can visit them in a short period of time and still have a chance to explore the rest of China!

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Cez Krol

Travel blogger at eTramping
Cez lives in China like a local for the past 4 years. Apart from speaking the language, he loves to discover more about this unique country of extreme contrasts. He shares his China experiences here at Sublime China and on his blog eTramping, so go and check out what's out there for you in China.
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