What a surprise this place is. You’d never guess that the rather
drearily titled Municipal History Museum beneath the Oriental Pearl
Tower provides such an wonderful and imaginative experience. Some
people find it more fun than the tower itself, certainly it
provides a great contrast between the modern Shanghai seen from the
Tower, and the experience of old Shanghai below it.
Of course, Shanghai does have an exciting and interesting history.
Here in the basement of the Oriental Pearl Tower the old city has
been recreated, with an emphasis on the period between 1860 and
1949. For much of the time you are ‘in’ the streets, walking past
or through everyday sights, and hearing the sounds.
Sometimes life-size, sometimes scaled down, the streets and
buildings are peopled with incredibly life-like models, and the
re-creations are immaculate. Scenes include the ‘fun’ life of
farmers (anything but!) and fishers, traditional stores, bars, the
stock exchange, medicine shops, teahouse, a courtroom and even a
There are dioramas of the river, the foreign concessions, the main
streets, a video of the old racetrack, and along the way some
genuine relics of the past, along with photos, film, and paintings.
In the first part of the museum there’s a wonderful transport
collection – old trams (complete with life-size models of
passengers and driver), rickshaws, a US Army jeep and vintage and
veteran cars. Then follows several halls with dioramas, and
evocations of the history of the city, some so well done that it’s
hard to tell where reality begins and ends (people have been known
to smile and nod to the barman!); foreign traders, opium and war,
and daily life in the streets, all from the local perspective. The
final section is a series of scale models of famous old buildings.
It takes at least an hour to walk through the imaginative displays
and exhibits, (the area covers around and it’s an unforgettable
experience, which can be enjoyed by the whole family. Audio guides
are available, but information is provided in English as well as
Chinese along the way.take bus No. 72、73、251、911
How to Get to there?