The Beijing Hutong Zhang Folk Art Museum brings traditional Beijing culture to life. Zhang Yujun, for whom the museum is named, decided to share his love for his culture with others. Yujun emphasizes the "hutong" (ancient Beijing alleys) aspect of Chinese culture in different ways throughout the museum.
The two-storied private museum houses a collection of over 1,000 pieces of traditional handicrafts and toys, as well as over 100 vintage photos and posters. Every item on display is a treasure of the museum.
The most impressive part of the museum is the handmade and vivid models of the hutongs and resident courtyards in the 1920s. The whole piece extends 100 meters long, covering about 140 old and famous shops and enterprises at that time (some brands still exit today). There are also market places, tea houses, opera houses, electrical cable posts and courtyards along the streets. Rickshaws are busy running on the streets. The clay figures representing people are dotted here and there on the streets with different clothing, characters and poses.
Besides watching the collections and miniatures, visitors can take part in lots of fun activities here.
- Enjoy Beijing Opera. It features a Peking Opera stage where you can enjoy the charm of this traditional Chinese art. Fans of the Beijing Opera and sometimes real Beijing Opera masters gather here to give performances.
- Play traditional games. The museum provides many options, such as pushing hoops, kicking shuttlecock, playing diabolo (Chinese Yoyo), etc. You can also make a piece of traditional handwork, such as paper-cuts, clay figurines, and kites, under the guidance of craftsman.
- Tea and snacks. Savor a cup of tea and enjoy some traditional snacks here, the tastes are in the memory of older local Beijingers.
The museum is open daily from 9:00 to 17:00 and entrance is 15 yuan. The museum is not known for being crowded so there is no need to reserve tickets in advance or arrive early.
- Address: 82 West Gate of Inner Street, Wanping Town, Lugou Bridge, Fengtai District.
- Typical visit: 90 minutes
While the museum provides a lovely experience, it is not large enough to provide an entire day of entertainment. But because the museum is in such a central area, you may enjoy the rest of your day doing a multitude of activities.
A short distance from the museum, visitors will find Lugou Bridge. This famous stone bridge, also known as the Marco Polo bridge, stretches over the Yongding River. It was nicknamed the Marco Polo Bridge because of his self-proclaimed admiration of it.
After lingering on the nearly 270 meter bridge, history buffs may enjoy the Wanping Fortress. This historic fortress from the 1600s is majestic on its own but it also houses the Museum of the War of Chinese People's Resistance Against Japanese Aggression. While the Military Museum of the Chinese People's Revolution near Tiananmen Square will provide some information about this war, the Wanping Fortress museum goes in depth on many different aspects. Wanping Fortress is on Chengnan Street in Fengtai just a few meters from Marco Polo Bridge.