There are 1,514 public museums in China.
The National Museum of Chinese History stands on the eastern side of Tiananmen Square in Beijing. The museum's permanent exhibition, the Exhibition of Chinese General History, was established in 1959, and the museum also has many specialized collections. Other major museums in China include:
The Palace Museum in the Forbidden City in Beijing, the biggest and most complete ancient building complex in China, was established on the foundation of the imperial palace of two dynasties, the Ming and the Qing, and their collection of treasures. First built in 1420, it covers an area of 720,000 sq meters. Designated by the State Council as being among China's foremost-protected monuments in 1961, the Palace Museum is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Henan Museum in Zhengzhou, Henan Province, opened in 1998, features significant collections of prehistoric cultural relics, bronze vessels of the Shang and Zhou dynasties, and pottery and porcelain wares of the various dynasties in Chinese history.
The Museum of Qin Shi Huang Terracotta Warriors and Horses, authorized by the State Council in 1975 as a museum, features the famous life-size terracotta figures of warriors and horses arranged in battle formations. Archaeological work is still ongoing at the site near Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Mausoleum, Lintong County, Shaanxi Province.
China National Silk Museum, Hangzhou, a national theme museum opened in 1992, includes exhibits of Han Dynasty brocades and silks unearthed in Qianshanyang Village of Huzhou in Zhejiang Province dating back 4,700 years.
China National Tea Museum, Hangzhou, exhibits the most comprehensive collection of modern and ancient tea utensils in China. Visitors also can watch tea performances or take part in a Chinese tea ceremony.
Local non-governmental museums included, the number of museums nationwide has reached some 2,000. Beijing alone has 118 museums including museums of ancient coins, astronautics, animation art, natural history, Peking Opera, contemporary literature, Buddhist literature and heritage, sports, stamps, classical art, fine arts, military, ethnology as well as museums honoring famous writers, artists, scientists and political figures in Chinese history. Some Chinese museums of cultural relics — the Qin Dynasty terracotta warriors and horses in Xi'an, for example — have become internationally known tourist attractions. The government encourages exchanges of cultural relics between museums and promotes the display and exchanges of legal non-governmental collections.