Wanlin Art Museum of Wuhan University
Address: Wuhan University, 299 Bayi Road, Wuchang district, Wuhan, Hubei province
Opening hours: 9 am-5 pm (last entry at 4:30 pm)
Closed Mondays (Except for public holidays)
General admission: Free (valid identity document or campus card of Wuhan University needed for entry)
Tel: (+86-27) 68756413
The maximum daily visitor capacity is 500 people.
Flying stone story
Wanlin Art Museum of Wuhan University was opened to the public on May 9, 2015. It was established through the generosity of Chen Dongsheng, CEO of Taikang Life Insurance Co., Ltd. and founder of China Guardian Auctions in 2011. An alumnus of the Wuhan University, Chen donated 100,000,000 yuan ($15.8 million) to establish the art museum for his alma mater, hoping to unveil it on the 120th anniversary of Wuhan University in 2013.
Designed by the famous architect Zhu Pei, the museum is like a flying stone standing beside the Luojia Hills on the southern bank of Donghu Lake, surrounded by green trees, and adjoining the Central Lake of Wuhan University. The design was inspired by an anecdote of Chen who carved a Chinese character “始” on a huge stone at the top of Luojia Hills, indicating a fresh start after graduation.
The museum is a three-floor building with a basement. The total area is 8,410 square meters. The construction of the museum is said to be a most difficult one in China, with nearly half of the building hanging in the air. With an aluminum-alloyed surface, the museum building resembles a grey flying stone.
Named after Chen’s father “Wanlin”, the museum conforms to the educational pursuit of Wuhan University and has become a new landmark in the university that boasts a long history, appealing sceneries and abundant cultural resources.
Symphony of natural sciences and humanities
The basement has a permanent exhibit. It was officially unveiled on Nov. 29, 2021 after years of preparation. Four sections comprise the exhibition.
In the first two sections is a collection of nearly 1,300 birds and more than 140 mammals, which derive from the specimen museum in Wuhan University. This museum was founded by the Tang family that has concentrated on making animal specimens for 100 years. The diversity and geographical distribution of Chinese birds are comprehensively revealed. The relationship between animals and different eco-systems is also illustrated in the exhibit.
Meanwhile, Wuhan University professors and students majoring in archaeology have excavated a number of valuable cultural relics. About 400 cultural relics are on exhibit here in the third and fourth sections, presenting the archaeological achievements of the university.
Here is a chance to have a glimpse of the samples brought back by the scientific expedition members of the Wuhan University Chinese Antarctic Center of Surveying and Mapping.
Artworks donated by alumni and social celebrities are also collected as exhibits, which complement the bird and animal samples.
A plethora of arts
The first floor of the museum is a multi-functional space, where temporary exhibitions, auctions and student activities can be held. The exhibitions on the second floor are divided in two parts. The first part has artworks donated by Chen, and the second part has other thematic exhibits loaned to the museum.
The Taikang Space, an art gallery also established by Chen, has co-organized art treasure exhibitions with the Wanlin Art Museum for many times, showcasing artistic masterpieces of Chinese paintings, oil paintings, sculptures and photos to form a window of artistic communication and admiration.
The exhibits cover a variety of themes which the visitors will enjoy.
After being immersed in the artistic world, don’t miss the viewing platform on the museum’s third floor, which is an excellent choice for visitors to enjoy the enchanting scenery around Wuhan University while relaxing.