The Qingdao Municipal Museum in Shilaoren is a little known place here in Qingdao but it’s well worth a visit. On three floors you learn a lot about the history of Qingdao and Shandong. The exhibition starts with the earliest traces of humans in the area and explains how Qingdao grew into what it is today. With the help of models, diagrams and movies this long history becomes accessible and you will walk out a smarter person. On the top floor you can have a look at stunning porcelain (originals that are often several hundred years old and only survived intact because they were buried somewhere), lacquer ware from the area and a special show about the development of coins.
The museum is located on the northern side of the new opera building in Shilaoren, near the Convention Center. There is no entrance fee and you can just walk in and look around. However, I recommend that you rent an audio guide which is available at the front desk. The charge is 10 RMB and a 100 RMB deposit that you get back later. The audio guides are equipped with a small sensor that starts the guide whenever you are close to an access point. Those points are near special objects or at the start of a new room and you just need to hold the guide near it and it will start automatically. The English version was very good and informative, giving a lot of background information that’s not written on the boards. There are also Chinese and German versions (and probably other languages as well) available. After completing the tour of the museum you can check out a small museum shop with some nice books and postcards.
More on the Qingdao Museum from Nile Guide via Wcities:
“Unlike most art museums that display art for its aesthetic appeal this picture gallery favors work that details Qingdao’s history. Paintings from the Yuan, Ming and Wang dynasties are extensive. There are also Paleolithic and Neolithic articles too. But the real point-and-gawk attractions are the massive stone Buddha figures dating back to 500 BC. The largest weighs a staggering 30 tons.”