A hugely important part of any visitor’s itinerary, museums educate, impress and often amaze. In Suzhou’s case, it is most definitely the latter, with Classic Museums giving the visitor access to some of the rarest treasures in Suzhou and in China itself. All of Suzhou’s museums reflect the city’s long heritage, and in many different ways.
The first of many excellent museums is the Suzhou Museum. The building itself is an attraction, having been designed by Ieoh Ming Pei, the world renowned award-winning architect. Its design, influenced heavily by its location next to a UNESCO classical garden, and the nationally-important artefacts inside, make this one of the top museums in China.
The Embroidery Art Gallery and the China Museum of Suzhou Embroidery will change how you look at the disciplined art of embroidery forever. Different artists display widely varying techniques which allow for a greater understanding of the creativity and uniqueness of this art. Understanding the history of silk goes a long way to understanding Suzhou, and the Suzhou Silk Museum does this in a very interactive manner. Suzhou is regarded as a scholarly city, with many great minds hailing from here. Some evidence of this can be seen at the Suzhou Museum of Tablet Inscriptions, which records some of the earliest astronomical, geographical and historical enlightenments.
Suzhou people are also world famous artisans, as noted by Marco Polo, and both the Suzhou Arts and Crafts Museum and the Suzhou Art Gallery will give you an insight as to why. Another art form that is just as important to Suzhou is the art of Opera, and the Suzhou Opera Museum is another example of where the actual building is as much part of the heritage as the artefacts inside.
Once you have absorbed all the arts and crafts, the Suzhou Chinese Medicine Museum and the Suzhou Revolution Museum will offer a different tangent to explore.
Recording the ways and traditions of Suzhou, the Suzhou Museum of Folk Customs is testament to the importance Suzhou places on protecting its lifestyle heritage, while the Suzhou Urban Planning Exhibition Hall does the same for Suzhou’s built heritage.
With all these museums it is clear that anyone who wishes to know Suzhou’s past will be spoilt for choice and amazed daily.