Small museums that hide in the city

Small as they are, these hidden museums embodying the wisdom of the Kunmingese can obviously enrich your experience of Kunming which is called "the city of museums".


Kunming Water Supply History Museum

The museum is just inside the Green Lake Park. The pump station constructed in 1917 was part of the earliest Kunming Water Supply Factory funded by civilian capitals. The station at that time pumped the water from the Jiulong Pool in the Park, transferred it to the filtering pond at Wuhua Mt and finally realized the water supply for Kunming City via four main pipes. In addition to documental materials, the museum has housed a pump displaying the history of Kunming's early water  supply in an intuitive manner. 


Add: Green Lake Park, Kunming
Opening hours: 09:30-16:30 (Wed-Sun)
Entry fee: free


Yunnan Gem and Mineral Museum

Opened in August 2012, the museum has three halls: mineral hall, gem hall, and treasures hall, with a total of nearly 10,000 items including Yunnan local gems like emeralds from Malipo County, rubies from Yuanjiang County, tourmalines from Fugong County, and sapphires from Yuanyang County. The museum also houses gems from around the world like diamonds from South Africa, amethysts from Brazil, krocodylites from India etc. 


Add: Jingde Alley, Dongsi Street, Kunming
Opening hours: 10:00-17:00 (Tue-Sun)
Entry fee: free


Mini Museum for Nationalities of Yunnan

Small as it is, the 10-square-metres museum houses dozens of musical instruments, culture and daily life utensils, all of which reflect the lifestyle and production of the 25 ethnic minorities of Yunnan Province.

Traditional articles in the museum include paper cuttings, Jiama paintings (exorcising paintings), cloth dolls, sculptures, ethnic costumes, and ethnic musical instruments, and oral literature of folk melodies, folk stories and proverbs etc.


Add: 2nd floor, 40, Taoyuan Street, Kunming
Opening hours: 09:00-17:00
Entry fee: free


Guandu Folk Customs Museum

The museum is at the second floor of the Exhibition Centre for Guandu Intangible Cultural Heritages. It includes four units highlighted by the folk paintings that display the traditional lifestyle of locals in Guandu.


Add: Guandu Old Town
Opening hours: 09:30-16:30 (Tue-Sun)
Entry fee: free


Dexin Perfume Museum

As a private museum dedicated to promote Yunnan's local perfumes, the Museum was established in 2011 by a local flavourist Yin Kaiyun. The museum is set in an inconspicuous two-story building with yellow walls and red tiles, but it is a big world inside displaying tens of hundreds of bottles that are filled with spices, perfumes and plant essence oil. 

The museum also has a demonstration area for distilling natural spices and has housed various books on spices and flavouring technique. From time to time, visitors can participate in activities of producing perfumes organised by the museum. 


Add: 15, Jindingshan North Road, Kunming
Opening hours: 09:00-17:00 (Mon-Fri)
Entry fee: free


Yunnan Chessmen Museum

Chessmen as a kind of traditional handicraft in Yunnan Province were first produced in the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and were in its heyday in the Qing (1368-1644) and Ming (1644-1911) dynasties. During the Yongzheng Period and Qianlong Period of the Qing Dynasty, Yunnan chessmen were offered as tributes to the imperial court hence have enjoyed a big fame in China. But, the traditional technique for making them once disappeared.

The museum located at the first floor of Yun Zi Qi Yuan (Yunnan Chessmen Courtyard)  display the chessmen in the Qing and Ming dynasties, the history of Yunnan Chessmen Factory and the medals the Factory has won, and chess tables and chessboards the Factory produces. 


In the museums, visitors can also view the producing process of Yunnan chessmen and watch enthusiasts play chessmen etc. 


Add: Yunziqiyuan Courtyard, Building A2, Phase II, Guandu Old Town
Opening hours: 09:00-17:30
Entry fee: free


Dian Opera Museum

Dian Opera plays an important role in the folk culture of Yunnan Province. Absorbing the advantages of other kinds of operas in the middle of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), the Dian Opera which is based on Yunnan dialect has merged the local and especially minority tunes since the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) to become a brand-new opera. In its heyday, the Dian Opera master Li Chengzhi and Peking Opera master Ma Lianliang were laurelled "Bei Ma Nan Li" which means "in the Chinese opera art, Li Chengzhi is the best known in the south of China, while Ma Lianliang is most reputed in the north of China".

Niujiezhuang Village in the east suburb of Kunming is the most famous for the Dian Opera. In the village, the Dian Opera has enjoyed a history of more than 200 years. Villagers stage a Dian Opera show once a week on average, and when it comes to main festivals such as the Lantern Festival, they are invited to perform in many places around the province.


In 2010, Mr Zhang Yong (60s), a member of Niujiezhuang Village and the head of the amateur Dian Opera troupe of the Village, organised to establish the Dian Opera museum displaying precious relics of different eras including costumes, props, notations and photos. 


Zhang said his forefathers were fans of the Dian Opera and he is the fifth generation of his family for the Opera. "These relics are quite valuable, and they will disappear in the future if nobody protects them," He said, “Today, people who are interested in the Dian Opera and hunting for Dian Opera notations often visit our museum."


Add:Niujiezhuang Village, eastern suburb of Kunming
Opening hours: 09:00-17:00 (Sat-Sun)
Entry fee: free


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