"Heilongjiang Provincial Museum - Part 1" Top 5 Page for this destination Harbin Off The Beaten Path Tip by mke1963

Harbin Off The Beaten Path: 36 reviews and 46 photos

  Beautiful building; not that you'd know
by mke1963

The Heilongjiang Provincial Museum has its ups and downs. Its not as bad as most of the guidebooks say, but a few hours makeover would turn this into a very impressive place. As it is, it suffers from 'sullen old women' syndrome: large numbers of ignorant, unpleasant and unfriendly staff who won't even give you the time of day.
The cloakroom doesn't accept coats. You have to swelter it out as you go around. Fortunately they have made as much of the museum as boring as possible so that you don't have to swelter for too long. It is indicative of many of China's tourist problems that most cultural heritage facilities have no idea how much money they could make or how much more interesting they could be if they could just get off their backsides, stop drinking out of jamjars for a while and start to consider the possibilities. Museums in China are as close as you get now to experiencing old-style Communism.
The Heilongjiang Museum is in a beautiful art-deco building that was originally a department store. However, they have put huge advertising hoardings over the upper floors, to cut off any possible aesthetic pleasure that one might derive from looking at the place from the outside. Indeed, it is actually easy to miss the museum entrance because of all the shops that use the ground floor (it is up the steps at the stone lions).
The aquarium is worth visiting on its own (separately reviewed) although it does end with a rather pathetic seal display. Ah, the ability of China to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory!
The upper floor has two huge display areas, with virtually nothing in any foreign language, other than a few of the obligatory 'hyperbole display panels' found in every museum, telling us how fantastic the place is. The series of the rooms on the left is the historical section. The labelling in Chinese is pretty useless.

othercontact: On Hongbo Square

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Feb 18, 2005
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