The Suzhou Museum is a museum of ancient Chinese art, ancient Chinese paintings, calligraphy, and handmade crafts, situated in Suzhou, Jiangsu, China. Admission is free. The Suzhou Folk Museum is located in the Bei family ancestral temple near Lion Grove Garden, the Folk Branch of Suzhou Museum is the first professional museum which specializes in displaying urban local traditions.
The current building of Suzhou Museum was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei in association with Pei Partnership Architects. The structural engineer for this project was Leslie E. Robertson Associates. Construction of this building started in 2002. It was inaugurated on October 6, 2006.
The multi-year process of designing, building and inaugurating the new museum was chronicled in PBS's American Masters television documentary series in an 2010 episode entitled "I.M. Pei: Building China Modern".
The museum has a display area of 2,200 square meters. It has more than 15,000 pieces in its collections. Most are ancient paintings and calligraphy, ceramics, crafts, unearthed relics and revolution relics. It also possesses more than 70,000 books and documents, and over 20,000 rubbings of stone inscriptions. The collection of paintings and calligraphy includes works of masters from Song Dynasty to Ming and Qing dynasties.
Local Festival Hall: It took quite a long time for the forming and development of local festival, while traditional festivals in our country came into being and developed along with agricultural civilization. Suzhou is a land flowing with milk and money with wild climate and distinctive four seasons and it has developed rice agriculture and abundant water resources. Therefore, festivals and cultural traditions in Suzhou are characterized water and unique local flavor.
Lucky Traditions Hall: Lucky traditions reflect people's ideas of avoiding bad omen and wishing good luck and longing for longevity and happiness. Traditions in Suzhou are extremely colorful and wonderful and reflect in all aspects such as faith, etiquette and production and living, representing Suzhou people's good yearning and pursuits. The key displays include: Worship Valiant General, Twelve Months Flowers'Goddess, Marriage God, Burning Incense in Dongyue Temple and good fortune, official pay and longevity.
Children Rearing Hall: Suzhou has different kinds of children rearing traditions since a long time ago. A series of rituals and affairs need to be finished at one's birth, full-month and first-year, which are important components of local traditions, reflecting expectations on offspring from family and society. This series of displays relatively focus on characteristics of children rearing traditions in Suzhou in past times.
Not only did it shoe our country's tradition of emphasizing on human relations, it also reflected people in Suzhou attached great importance on culture and education. The key displays include: Full Month Birth, Baby Draw Lots, Seeking Godparent, and Uncle Sending to the school and Weighing People in Summer Begins.