Beijing's best special interest museums

The city's got a dedicated museum for nearly everything

From postage stamps to policing, Beijing caters for a truly eclectic range of enthusiasts. For a deeper dive into the history of coins, urban planning or even taxation, head to one of Beijing's specialist museums for your history 101.

China Court Museum (中国法院博物馆)

In what might be some of Beijing’s most text-heavy exhibits, this museum details every aspect of China’s legal system, from its dealings with corruption and counterfeiting to murder and the pettiest of crimes. It’s an ode to dense paperwork and the small print, though the Xi Jinping footage ...

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4 Zhengyi Lu (Tiananmen, Dongcheng)

China Numismatic Museum (中国钱币博物馆)

It’s sometimes easy to forget in Beijing that cash is A Thing. If the world of WeChat and Alipay has got you craving the slower, numismatic pace of life, then head to this place for a lesson in the history of the hard stuff. Numismatic means coins and currency, if you’re feeling less fancy, ...

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17 Xijiaominxiang (Xicheng, Xicheng)

Beijing Taxation Museum (北京税务博物馆)

Beijing’s tribute to all things taxing used to have pride of place next to the Forbidden City, but in 2015 it was booted out to the Fourth Ring Road, and is now next to nothing in particular. If you do decide to head out there, expect a pleasant mix of the beguiling and banal. Exhibits in ...

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1 North Fourth Ring East Road (Chaoyang, --select--)

China National Post and Postage Stamp Museum (中国邮政邮票博物馆)

The temporary nature of its stamp exhibitions mean that budding philatelist may be left a little wanting at the collection here, but for postal history enthusiasts, it’s jackpot time: from explanations of early forms of distance communication, to scale models of primitive, camel-based kuaidi ...

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6 Gongyuan Xi Jie (Dongcheng, Dongcheng)

China Printing Museum (中国印刷博物馆)

This small, ramshackle museum does little to honour one of China’s great inventions, but scholars and those with a niche interest will get a kick out of the displays demonstrating different forms of printing from 200 BC onwards. Woodcuts and tools from across the dynasties are on display here, ...

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25 Xinghua Bei Lu

Beijing Police Museum (北京警察博物馆)

Nothing to do with Sting, this is actually a masterclass in subtle agitprop, full of pictures of smiling coppers saving lives. The museum gives a full history of the city’s police from the end of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) to the present day, using old uniforms, official papers and so on. Some ...

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36 Dongjiaomin Xiang (Miyun county)

Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall (北京市规划展览馆)

One of Beijing’s heavy-hitters in the museum world, the Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall boasts two unexpected features: it’s much more interesting than its name suggests, and it’s pretty poorly planned. Don’t let the lack of clear navigation around the building put you off, though; wherever ...

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20 Qianmen Dong Dajie (Miyun county)

Beijing Ancient Architecture Museum (北京古代建筑博物馆)

A restored Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) temple is the location of Beijing’s first architecture museum. The outdoor exhibits and picturesque grounds make it feel more like touring a section of the Summer Palace than a stuffy museum. The indoor exhibitions give highly specific details on ancient ...

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21 Dongjing Jie (Fengtai)

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  • 4 out of 5 stars