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Aurora Museum - a new cultural landmark in Pudong

Updated: 2014-06-06

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Along the east bank of Huangpu River, Aurora Plaza rises from the Lujiazui Finance Center, overlooking the Bund and Huangpu River. Inside the plaza, an antiques museum hides itself from the noises and stirrings of the modern world. Traveling from the bustling modernity back to the ancient world in one day is what the Aurora Museum can offer. Stay here, and begin your conversation with the vast civilization of ancient China.

Pudong district has rarely seen private museums or galleries. However, the Aurora museum is making a new cultural landmark here.

Run by a professional team

The Aurora Museum is designed by the famous Japanese architect, Tadao Ando, with his iconic use of light and shadow. The museum was painted all in grey from the outside, coupled with clean and crisp lines, presenting an atmosphere of tranquility and magic against the gentle light. The inspiration comes from a jewel box, thus making the museum a “treasure box along the Huangpu River.” Inside the museum, there’re more than 10 permanent exhibition halls, including the Ancient Pottery Figurine Hall, the Jade Hall and the Blue and White Porcelain Hall. Many valuable exhibits are displayed here. The collections of the Aurora Museum focus mainly on ancient Chinese artifacts, covering Buddhist sculptures, jade, porcelain and stone inscriptions, displayed chronologically through different dynasties. The collections are all from Chen Yongtai, owner of the Aurora Museum and the Aurora Group.

As antiques here are all donated from individuals, a professional team has been hired to operate the museum. This professional team consists of not only professionals in arts and cultural relics, but also specialists and scholars in cultural study and analysis.

Private museums and galleries in Pudong district have agreed not to make a profit from their collections. Here, once an object is given to the museum, it is not allowed to go commercial again.

Pressure of high operating costs

As the venue and collections are all from donations, for a long time private museums and galleries relied heavily on investments. An unstable capital chain could be the greatest weakness for these private projects.

In November 2013, the administration of Pudong district issued regulations for sponsoring those who run public cultural facilities (museums and galleries) for free inside the district. Under this regulation, the Aurora Museum would get a subsidy of 1 million Yuan.

“To tell the truth, this amount is like a drop in the bucket. However, it shows support and stimulation from the government,” said Huang Shengzhi, director of the operations at the Aurora Museum. Feature exhibitions are held from time to time to meet attract more tourists.

In addition, the Aurora Museum is generating income in multiple ways other than selling tickets. Selling creative cultural accessories and holding joint exhibitions with car dealers or jewelers all are feasible ways. Earlier, the Aurora Museum held an exhibition of “Bvlgari—classic Italian design of 125 years,” attracting many viewers to appreciate the beauty of delicate and luxurious jewels. Meanwhile, the exhibition of “China’s ancient antiques” was also presented to show the rich deposits of Chinese culture. In promoting art education, the Aurora Museum published papers and other materials on the latest research, launching special exhibitions of valuable subjects. In the near future, with the continuous development of private museums, there will be more exhibitions to enrich people’s cultural lives in Pudong district.