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Shanghai Astronomy Museum increases soft power in China’s largest city

The Shanghai Astronomy Museum, located on the banks of Dishui Lake in Lingang, is part of the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum (SSMT), which includes Shanghai Natural History Museum and Shanghai Planetarium.

It opened last month and is the largest museum in the world dedicated to astronomy with the aim to stimulate people’s curiosity and encourage them to ‘appreciate the starry sky and understand the universe’.

Shanghai’s soft power

The Shanghai Astronomy Museum joins the Museum of Art Pudong – which also opened in July with exhibitions by Britain’s Tate, Spain’s Fundació Joan Miró and Chinese fireworks artist Cai Guoqiang – and the Center for Contemporary Art Edge as a new wave of museums in the city.

“It further demonstrate Shanghai’s soft power, promoting high-quality development of museums in a new era and better meeting the growing spiritual and cultural needs of the people,” said a museums statement.

“The establishment and opening of The Shanghai Astronomy Museum means the SSTM has entered a new development stage as a super-large comprehensive science and technology museum cluster that integrates the science and technology museum, natural history museum and astronomy museum.”

Shanghai Astronomy Museum

The museum’s vision, which has been six years in the making, was to create a comprehensive view of the universe. The new museum includes immersive visitor experiences as well as a planetarium dome housed in a 30-meter diameter sphere.

Ennead Architects, who designed the museum, said the Oculus, Inverted Dome and Sphere form a ‘three-body’ structure that jointly conveys the laws of celestial motion.

“The Shanghai Astronomy Museum is a place where I hope visitors will be reminded of a shared universal perspective: where we humans sit in relation to the existence of all things both near and impossibly distant,” said Thomas Wong AIA Design Partner, Ennead Architect.

“It is a place where I hope we will simultaneously acknowledge the great fortune of Earth amid the unimaginable hostilities of the cosmos, in tandem with the underlying responsibility to care for this planet, each other, and all species of life here.”

About the author – Adrian Murphy

Adrian is the Editor of MuseumNext and has 20 years’ experience as a journalist, half of which has been writing for the cultural sector.

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