Welcome to the new year, already Christmas slides away like a train station platform behind us as the future opens up before us. I mention xmas merely because on that day I had the good fortune to check out a new gem in Guangzhou’s cultural cannon which according to some is running on empty. While it may not be quite that bad – there are some museums and galleries dotted around the city, notably the black box of Guangdong Museum in Huacheng Square – they are however few and far between and don’t exactly leap out at you. Like so many Chinese cities a degree of sleuth work in Sherlock studies may be required in seeking out the prize.
Guangzhou doesn’t have a transport museum as such, but the all new hands on interactive Metro Museum goes some way to filling that void. Though it touches on the history of transport in Guangzhou it is very much a homage to the amazing metro system that continues to grow as I type/write/speak. Again in the spirit of togetherness, it gives mention to other metro families around the world (see pictures) as well as some of the artwork that has graced the cards and tickets since its arrival – in my opinion the day card from a couple of years ago is nicer than the one used for permanent residents.
Not only that but there is also a look at how the trains work, problems and solutions in the construction process, station design models and of course the mighty tunnel borer itself. One of the few downsides is it can be very confusing finding your way inside. The museum is spread over a few floors and you’re never quite sure if you’ve missed something. Also the ending is a bit of an anti-climax; one time squished into a lift then spat out into a faceless lobby followed by bedazzling daylight, another time a return to the entrance. Either way it’s a touch disorientating.
I first noticed the signage for this museum earlier last year but you guessed it, the signs were up for all to see on the main boulevard before the museum had even finished its interior construction phase. Typical China (for those that read my frustrations blog). So finally it’s complete, open and quite splendid with many interactive gizmos to play with, if that is, you can speak Chinese. Only the main exhibition headers are in English meaning you can only helplessly admire the pictures but even then it’s still better than nothing, very enjoyable and highly recommended (especially if you’re a bit of a transport geek).
Guangzhou Metro Museum is located at Wanshengwei – the eastern end of Line 8 where it connects with Line 4. At the time of writing it was free and ticketless to enter, you simply scan a QR code on your smart phone. Not sure what the procedure is for those that don’t have one, if anyone.