Shang­hai mu­seum re­opens to great fanfare

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE -

aside at least four hours of our day in or­der to ab­sorb ev­ery­thing,” said Chen Shaojie, the fa­ther of an eight-year-old son, who queued in the morn­ing with his fam­ily for over an hour.

In the past two months, the mu­seum has wel­comed more than 25,000 visi­tors from in­side and out­side the city to ex­plore the history, beauty and mys­tery of na­ture.

“My son who loves di­nosaurs keeps ask­ing ques­tions through the three-hour tour, which al­lows him to learn the ori­gin of nat­u­ral species from sam­ples and 4D videos. The knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence can­not be ob­tained from the lessons taken at school,” said Chen.

Chen added that he would bring his son to visit the mu­seum regularly as it is the per­fect place for him to learn knowl­edge and have fun at the same time.

The build­ing also in­cludes ex­hibit spa­ces, a 4D theater, an out­door ex­hibit gar­den, and a 30-me­ter-tall atrium that wel­comes visi­tors with an abun­dance of nat­u­ral light fil­tered through a strik­ing glass wall inspired by the cel­lu­lar struc­ture of plants and an­i­mals.

“A great mu­seum ex­pe­ri­ence may have pos­i­tive in­flu­ence on a per­son’s whole life,” said Liang.

In this case, it’s not just the in­side that counts ei­ther. De­signed by Perkins+Will, a lead­ing global ar­chi­tec­ture firm founded in Chicago in 1935, the over­all shape and or­ga­ni­za­tion of the new mu­seum was inspired by the nau­tilus shell, one of the purest geo­met­ric forms found in na­ture.

The stun­ning ‘ bio­cli­matic’ build­ing has an ‘in­tel­li­gent build­ing skin’ to max­i­mize day­light. Its four ex­ter­nal walls em­u­late nat­u­ral el­e­ments – in­clud­ing a ver­ti­cal gar­den on the east wall, and a north­ern stone wall inspired by shift­ing tec­tonic plates and canyon walls eroded by rivers.

“The use of cul­tural ref­er­ences found in tra­di­tional Chi­nese gar­dens was key to the de­sign,” said Ralph John­son, global de­sign di­rec­tor at Perkins+Will.

“Through its in­te­gra­tion with the site, the build­ing rep­re­sents the har­mony of hu­man­ity and na­ture and is an ab­strac­tion of the ba­sic el­e­ments of Chi­nese art and de­sign,” he said.

An ex­hibit on such a scale has been made pos­si­ble by the move from the mu­seum’s old home in the Shang­hai Cot­ton Ex­change on 260 East Yan’an Road in Huangpu dis­trict, which could dis­play just one per­cent of its col­lec­tion at any given time.

Peo­ple from Shang­hai have spe­cial feel­ings to­wards the old mu­seum, es­pe­cially the largest ex­hibit, a 140-mil­lion-year-old di­nosaur skele­ton that inspired many kids’ dream to ex­plore na­ture and the world.

“It was a shame that the old mu­seum had to be closed down. I still re­mem­bered the first time en­ter­ing the mu­seum when I was six years old, I was to­tally shocked by the gi­ant di­nosaur skele­ton pop­ping in front of me,” said He Xin, a 33-year-old engi­neer whose child­hood was filled with mem­o­ries of go­ing to the old mu­seum.

He added that he would go to the new mu­seum some­day to see the en­larged col­lec­tion of sam­ples but the strong emo­tional at­tach­ment with those old ex­hibits he used to have can­not be re­placed.

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