Shanghai Center of Photography (SCoP)
Find it: 2555-1 Longteng Da Dao 龙腾大道2555-1号, Tel: 6428-9516
A snappy new addition
Opened in May 2015 along West Bund’s up-and-com- ing Museum Mile, the Shanghai Center of Photography aims to become the premier museum space dedicated to the new art of photography in Shanghai.
Founded by Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Liu Heung Shing, the institution seeks to introduce the general public to the wonders of photography while redefining the role of the museum as an important contributor in the world of modern art.
As a hybrid museum and experimental gallery space, 50 percent of SCoP’s programming is comprised of educational non-pro t programs, which aim to cultivate greater public appreciation for the medium, as well as facilitate meaningful dialogue among artists, curators, and the general public.
SCoP currently dedicates nearly 70 percent of its exhibition space to international photography, reserving the rest to showcase the most groundbreaking and innovative photographers in China.
Shanghai Natural History Museum
Find it: 510 Beijing Xi Lu (Inside of Jing An Sculpture Park) 北京西路510号, Tel: 6862-2000
Breathing new life into our past
Once housed in Shanghai’s Concession-era Cotton Exchange, the Shanghai Natural History Museum has since moved to a new home in Jing’an Sculpture Park. The new facility, designed by Perkins+Will, is inspired by themes found in nature: the northern facade’s tectonic wall recalls Earth’s strata, the eastern facade China’s forests and the interior nature’s nautilus. Boasting an area of 44,571 square meters, the museum incorporates smart indoor and outdoor design to create a memorable, hands-on learning experience for visitors of all ages.
The immense exhibition space allows the museum to display a considerable portion of its 290,000-piece collection, including a 140-million-year-old dinosaur skeleton of the Mamenchisaurus as well as specimens of the Yellow River mammoth, the Yangtze alligator, giant salamander and giant panda.
In the spirit of inclusivity, the museum has integrated mobile technology into the museum experience, allowing visitors to interact with the exhibits via their mobile devices. The museum aims to become an important platform for educating the public through a vast array of educational programs.
Find it: 201 Renmin Da Dao 人民大道201号, Tel: 6372-3500
If the ancient arts are more your thing, head to the Shanghai Museum in People’s Square. At present, this museum is divided into ten sections: ancient Chinese bronzes, sculpture, ceramics, jades, seals, calligraphy, coin and currency, paintings, Ming and Qing Dynasty furniture and crafts of China’s national minorities.
The ambience is one of hushed reverence, as the space houses many pieces that are significant to China’s cultural heritage. Thus for their protection, many of the artworks on display are in darkened rooms, with display cases that light up only when visitors stand in front of them to rather dramatic effect.
The scale and quality of the collection is what make it one of the most famous in China: 120,000 pieces occupy a space of 38,000 square meters, along with a library that houses approximately 200,000 volumes of books. The museum also puts on special exhibitions and lectures from time to time.
Entrance is free, so there’s no need to stroll around the place for hours until you feel like you got your money’s worth. Audio guides are available for a fee.
Find it: 35 Fenggu Lu 丰谷路 35 号 , Tel: 6426-1901
House of giants
Designed by the Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto (designer of the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in London) and opened in 2013, this mammoth space is made from the former Longhua Airport hangars. The museum boasts an area of 9,000 square meters and displays installations to match the size. The museum’s creation was a huge undertaking by Indonesian billionaire collector Budi Tek, founder of the Yuz Foundation, and aims to bring a deeper appreciation for contemporary art.
Tek is an avid fan of large-scale installation art, which is partly the reason for the sheer scale of the Yuz Museum. Installations have included “Planes” by Adel Abdessemen, a complex mesh of three full-size airplanes. The lobby is marked by a huge Maurizio Cattela sculpture: an olive tree growing out of a cube of earth.
Smaller works are displayed as well, usually in separate galleries alongside the vast main space. Recently the museum also held the largest retrospective of Italian sculptor Alberto Giacometti’s work to date. As the museum is part of the non-profit Yuz Foundation, it also takes an interest in social welfare and public education.