Songjiang District in southwest Shanghai is a good weekend destination for both its countryside scenery and its museums of science, history and culture.
• Shanghai Astronomy Museum
Atop the scenic Sheshan Hill is the Shanghai Astronomy Museum which is on the site of the Sheshan Observatory Station, built by French Catholic missionaries in 1900.
It was turned into a 2,000-square-meter museum in 2004.
It contains two sections: Time and Mankind and Sino-Foreign Astronomy Exchanges. The first includes a timeline of achievements of Chinese people. The second section on international exchanges is the mail building of the old observatory station, in French-style architecture.
Exhibits narrate the introduction of Western astronomy to China and the history of modern Chinese astronomy.
A collection of astronomical observation instruments are exhibited, including a 40cm binocular refracting telescope purchased from Paris in 1898. At one time it was the largest telescope in East Asia.
Address: Western Sheshan Hill
Hours: 8am-4pm (currently closed for renovation, reopening in January, 2014)
Admission: 30 yuan
Tel: 5765-1723, 5765-1609
• Shanghai Songjiang Museum
The museum displays archeological artifacts and relics unearthed in Songjiang, as well as items of modern history.
Opened in 1984, the 4,700-square-meter museum is built in Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) style. The second floor displays relics unearthed since 1949.
On both sides of the exhibition hall stand stone tablets or steles. Inscriptions include government notices about cotton, textiles and taxes in the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. Some are inscribed by renowned calligraphers.
The first floor is used for changing exhibitions.
Address: 233 Zhongshan Rd E.
Hours: Tuesdays-Sundays, 9am-4pm
Tel: 5783-3314, 5783-2250
• Shanghai Earthquake Museum
The museum in scenic Sheshan Hill resort was established jointly in 2001 by the Shanghai Earthquake Administration and the Sheshan Seismic Station.
It is said to contain the largest collection of old seismic instruments and earthquake-related materials in China. Around 20 instruments are more than 100 years old, including the Ali Ott magnetometer first used in 1882. It is one of only two in the world; the other is in London.
Address: Western Sheshan Hill (inside Sheshan Seismic Station)