China Agriculture Museum 中国农业博物馆
The museum is set well back behind the Agriculture Exhibition Hall, south of the Great Wall Sheraton Hotel.
The halls have recently been undergoing a long overdue rebuild. Once a marvel by Běijīng standards, the museum had been left far behind by various high-tech aquariums and other shows elsewhere. There were three halls. The first was educational, with stuffed exotica such as a panda, tiger, deer, and ostrich, plus domestica such as a sheep and chickens. There were stuffed monkeys in plastic trees with plastic apples.
The central hall had fish tanks and a slightly alarming trickle of water across the floor; the collection included goldfish and edible fish, as well as the tropical fish beloved of collectors, mostly in otherwise empty tanks. The right hall had a bizarre presentation of deep sea habitat with stuffed fish and sea-going mammals, suspended in mid-air as if swimming underwater, and with an indescribable smell of fishy decay.
The new version, has five display halls, with vastly better lit and displayed collections of traditional agricultural implments. Collections include tools from the Neolithic era up to food coupons and political posters depicting heroic peasants from modern times.
The new version is greatly superior to the original and yet more artificial amd a lot less entertaining.
▶ Zhōngguó Nóngyè Bówùguǎn, Dōng Sān Huán Běi Lù
t 6509 6114, www.zgnybwg.com.cn, 9am–3pm, closed Mon. ¥10
m Agricultural Exhibition Centre (Line 10). b to 农业展览馆: 运通107线,
运通122线, 402, 405, 420, 621, 601, 635, 671, 701, 707, 718, 73区间, 974, 984.
A small and simple hotel to the left of the museum has rooms at ¥180-¥220 inc. breakfast and is quiet and tucked-away, and worth looking into. t 6508 1213. There are numerous restaurants on the walk north to the cluster of upper-end hotels around the Lufthansa shopping mall. The Sān Lǐ Tún bar and restaurant area with assorted expat-oriented shopping is ten minutes’ walk west.
For discussion of China travel, see The Oriental-List.