Shanghai Attractions: the Museum of Glass

Shanghai museums

Shanghai has taken quite a shine to the new Shanghai Museum of Glass (685 Changjiang Xilu; 86-21/ 6618-1970; en.shmog.org). The city’s glinting skyline plus its role as China’s high-tech glass hub was the inspiration for the Shanghai Glass Company to commission a museum narrating the contrasting timelines of glass technology and arts in Asia and the West. Occupying a former workshop within the company’s still-functioning factory complex, the museum stands out from its industrial surrounds with an enameled glass facade stamped with glass-industry terms in 10 languages. Sleek, black reflective interiors and interactive digital installations take visitors on a superbly curated journey from crystal molecule to magnificent glass art through the ages and 21st-century glass applications. Intriguing questions, such as “How can glass fly?” and “How can glass speak?” are answered by opening small doors set into the walls. Underfoot, transparent floor panels cleverly highlight issues such as glass recycling. There are also glass-blowing demos, temporary exhibition spaces hosting a roster of international glass artists, and a craft room where you can decorate your own piece of transparent art. –Amy Fabris-Shi

Originally appeared in the October/November 2011 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Glass Act”)

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