Beijing Art Museum is the first major museum open in Beijing for nearly 30 years, Beijing Art Museum occupies the grounds of Wanshou Temple (Temple of Longevity) which for years had been occupied by the military. Beijing Art Museum is located immediately off Xisanhuanbeilu (the Third West Ring Road) where it crosses over the canal some 500 meters north of the Shangri-La Hotel. Hours are 9.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. The museum is closed on Mondays.
The Wanshou Temple dates back to 1577: when Emperor Wanli of the Ming dynasty erected it on this spot as a library for Buddhist scriptures. In front of the museum runs a canal used by the court of the Qianlong Emperor in the 17th century to travel by barge from the Forbidden City to the summer palaces in the northwestern suburbs. On the occasion of the 70th birthday of Qianlong’s mother, 1,000 Buddhis monks stood on the banks of the canal as part of the birthday celebrations taking place in the temple.
Empress Dowager Cixi stayed in the now rescored western section of the temple when she broke her journeys to the Summer Palace. She instigated an extensive rebuilding campaign in 1894. The eastern section is also scheduled for future restoration.
Beijing Art Museum has speciality collections of Ming and Qing textiles, Qing and Republican period paintings, Buddhist art, personal name seals, Ming and Qing ceramics, and Japanese paintings acquired from collections in the formerly Japanese-occupied areas of Manchuria. The collection was assembled in the late 1980s under the aegis of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Cultural Relics. Opening times arc from 9.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. Closed on Mondays.