Check out Kunming’s amazing museums|Updated: May 26, 2023

Yunnan is the most diverse province in China, both in terms of its extraordinary mix of people and in the splendor of its landscapes. More than half of China’s minority groups reside here, providing a glimpse into the country’s hugely varied mix of cultures. Kunming, capital of Yunnan, is home to several fascinating museums. Check out what visitors have to say about Kunming’s museums.

Yunnan Provincial Museum


The Yunnan Provincial Museum emphasizes local minority culture in its exhibits, featuring art from the Dali Kingdom (278 - 115BC) as well as other periods throughout Yunnan’s history. It has spent the last 50 years amassing over 220,000 pieces of folk art, handicrafts, bronze ware, ceramics, ancient books, and more.


"I visited the Yunnan Provincial Museum on International Museum Day, which falls on May 18 every year. The atmospheric design is perfect for taking nice photos. The arrangement of exhibition halls enables visitors to easily follow the region’s historical evolution. The words, relics, pictures and videos create an immersive environment for visitors to experience Yunnan culture. The prehistoric creatures and dinosaur exhibits on the second floor are very attractive to children. "


The vast collection of bronze relics exhibited here provides an abundance of evidence to better understand the culture of the ancient Dian Kingdom, with every piece being a stunning example of local craftsmanship. Buddhist cultural relics and exhibits on local ethnic cultures are accessible on the third floor.

Kunming Natural History Museum of Zoology 


Established in 1959, the Kunming Natural History Museum of Zoology is the largest animal specimen museum with the most abundant collection in Southwest China, and boasts the most abundant exhibition hall for exhibiting animal specimens in China.


"The four-storey Kunming Natural History Museum of Zoology has an amazing collection of specimens. I personally love the dragonfly and butterfly collections.”

Germplasm Bank of Wild Species


Affiliated to the Kunming Institute of Botany, of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the GBOWS comprises a seed bank, a micropropagation unit, a plant DNA bank, a microbial bank based at Yunnan University, and an animal germplasm bank at the Kunming Institute of Zoology. It also boasts experimental research laboratories for plant genomics and seed biology.


“When you come to Kunming, you must check out the Seed Museum. Walking through the gate, you can see the seed wall. There are thousands of seeds of different sizes and shapes, and they are stored in transparent acrylic containers, which make for a spectacular installation.”

Former Site of Southwest Associated University


After the Japanese invasion of China, Peking University, Tsinghua University and Nankai University fled to Kunming and established this campus together in 1937. The university has since taught some of modern China's brightest minds, and the campus was the center of many important modern political movements. The remaining buildings can be found on the grounds of what is now Yunnan Normal University.


"As time passes by, I find time spent on reading more and more valuable. Visiting the former site of the Southwest Associated University is really inspiring.”