Macau Museums: Two Stars

(Last updated: September 22, 2023)

Macau Museum Guide: Xian Xinghai Museum

I dropped by the Xian Xinghai museum expecting less than nothing. What I got however far exceeded expectations, so much so that I went back home and started searching for any bit of the man’s music that I could find.

Born in Macau in 1905, Xian Xinghai was one of the most prominent composers in Chinese history, but the road he took getting there was extremely difficult. The museum chronicles the most important parts of his life: why he left China for Paris in 1929, his immense struggles to survive there, and his fairly quick rise to fame and prominence after returning home in 1935.

Xian Xinghai Museum Macau
Xian Xinghai and his wife

The details of how he got his first suit in Paris and what prize he wanted from the Paris Conservatory after winning a student competition is truly inspirational, and worth visiting to find out those answers alone.

Two criticisms: the museum tells a somewhat incomplete story with important chunks of his life missing or glossed over (like why was he in Russia in the first place, and why did he die there exactly?) and two, you don’t hear a single note of the man’s music anywhere inside it.

Xian Xinghai Museum Macau
Sheet music

Still though, this Maven was deeply affected by what he heard, so much so that when our Youtube channel opens, we will be using Xian Xinghai’s “Violin Sonata in D Minor” as our intro music.

Admission: Free     Location: Rua de Francisco Xavier Pereira, No 151-153     Opening Hours: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm   Closed on Tuesdays

Taipa Village Art Space

Like every art gallery in Macau, the Taipa Village only shows temporary exhibitions. 

Mostly featuring up and coming local artists, you’ll probably need to be a fan of modern art to like what’s being shown there.  In quite the shocker, I actually quite enjoyed Yang Sio Maan’s works, and hope to run into her around town one day, should destiny lend a kind hand. 

Admission: Free     Location: No 16-18 Rua do Clerigos     Hours: Open daily from 12 pm to 8 pm  

Macau Museum Guide: Shipyard Museum

I never even knew this part of Macau existed before the Shipyard Museum opened in 2023.  Located in Lai Chi Vun Village close to the old Coloane Pier, it’s definitely worth visiting in conjunction with Coloane Village.

Macau Shipyard Museum exterior

For about 50 years, Lai Chi Vun Village was the home of the Macau shipbuilding industry, before increased competition from the mainland ended its viability in the late 1990’s.  The museum reflects on the history of the village, the lives of shipbuilders, with a series of displays that include handcrafted tools, equipment and replicas of several fishing boats .

Macau Shipyard Museum fishing boat

Admission: Free     Location: No. X2, Estrada de Lai Chi Vun, Coloane     Opening Hours: Given it’s outside, unsure if it ever closes 

Macau Museum Guide: Communications Museum

A sort of brother attraction to the Science Center, the Communications Museum is another big hit with children, due to its fun and interactive displays and exhibits.

Macau Museum Guide: Communications Museum

Dedicated to the communication industry and other front end technologies, I quite enjoyed my time there in Trip Report III.

Communications Museum video camera

Admission: Free     Location: Estrada de D.Maria II     Opening Hours: 9:00 am to 5:30 pm  Closed on Public Holidays

Macau Museum Guide: Fire Services Museum

Fire trucks, hoses, nozzles, uniforms and other equipment are on display this museum, housed in a building built in 1920.

Macau Museum Guide: Fire Services Museum

I had a closer look at it during Trip Report III.

Fire Services Museum interior

Admission: Free     Location: 2-6 Estrada Coelho do Amaral     Hours: Open daily from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm 

Macau Museum Guide: Former Chong Sai Pharmacy

The site of Sun Zhong Shan’s pharmacy which he established in 1893, this traditional three level shop house is notable for its distinctive grey brick architecture and small exhibition chronicling Sun’s experience in Macau.

Macau Museum Guide: Former Chong Sai Pharmacy

Somewhat similar in appearance to Lou Kau Mansion, there’s also information related to local geology and the building’s extensive renovation works.

Former Chong Sai Pharmacy inside

This is one museum where the exhibits take a back seat, it’s all about just being inside the building.

Former Chong Sai Pharmacy antique windows and door

Admission: Free    Location: Rua das Estalagens, No. 80     Hours: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm   Closed on Tuesdays

Heritage Exhibition of a Traditional Pawnshop Business

Pawnshops are still going strong in Macau, their relevance in the present day owing itself directly to the gambling industry.  For a step back in time, the doors of the Tak Sen On Pawnshop are open again, a business which was first established in 1917.

Heritage Exhibition of a Traditional Pawnshop Business

With both the shop and storehouse restored to near original condition, visitors can have a fresh and up close glimpse into this historically important industry.

Heritage Exhibition of a Traditional Pawnshop Business abacus and stamps

I tried to pawn my soul there during Trip Report III, but all they’d give me for it was $6 MOP.

Admission: Free     Location: San Ma Lo No 396     Opening Hours: 10:30 am to 7:00 pm  Closed on the first Monday of every month

Macau Museum Guide: Lin Ze Xu Museum

Recently overhauled museum now does a much better job expounding on the history of the sordid 19th Century opium trade and wars.

Macau Museum Guide: Lin Ze Xu Museum

Mu Yi and I visited its older incarnation during Trip Report I.

Lin Ze Xu Museum statue

Admission: $5     Location: Lin Fung Temple     Opening Hours: 9:00 to 5:00 pm  Closed on Mondays

Macau Contemporary Art Center

Formerly part of an old dilapidated dockyard complex, the Macau Contemporary Art Center opened in the latter half of 2016. Only used for temporary exhibitions, that means the venue will only be as good as what it’s currently showing, with turnover time about 6 weeks.

Macau Contemporary Art Center

Easily accessible via A Ma Temple and the Maritime Museum, travellers in this part of town shouldn’t hesitate to stop by and have a look.

Admission: Free        Location: Rua de S. Tiago da Barra, Navy Yard #1       Hours: 10:00 am to 7:00 pm      Closed on Mondays

Macau Museum Guide: Science Center

Quite a well liked attraction, especially by children, Macau’s Science Center is divided into 2 main parts: the Exhibition Center and Planetarium.  The Exhibition Center covers topics related to robotics, food science, meteorology and space, while the Planetarium plays super high definition movies in both 2D and 3D, at a resolution 16 times clearer than normal theater screens.

Macau Museum Guide: Science Center

I went there one afternoon as a part of Trip Report III.  

Admission: $50     Location: Avenida Dr Sun Yat Sen     Opening Hours: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm  Closed on Thursdays, except in July and August when it opens everyday

Macau Museum Guide: Taipa Houses Museum

Taipa Houses Museum is a lot smaller than it was before, now composed of only one home.  Step inside to marvel at a beautifully restored model of an early 20th Century Taipa house, complete with furnishings and fixtures from that era. 

Macau Museum Guide: Taipa Houses Museum

The rest of the houses are now either shops or spaces dedicated to temporary art exhibitions.

Mu Yi and I paid a visit there during the last afternoon of Trip Report I, when it still cost money.

Admission: Free     Location: Avenida da Praia, Taipa     Opening Hours: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm  Closed on Mondays

Treasure of Sacred Art of St. Joseph’s Seminary

Macau has a few museums attached to churches that display sacred artifacts, but the one at St. Joseph’s Seminary is a cut above the rest.  Highlighted by a series of well preserved religious icons that are just as aesthetically pleasing as they are spiritually significant, there’s also a fine collection of antique texts, garments, vessels and jugs.

Treasure of Sacred Art of St. Joseph’s Seminary gold staffs Treasure of Sacred Art of St. Joseph’s Seminary painting

Anyone visiting St. Joseph’s Church simply must stop in and have a look.

Treasure of Sacred Art of St. Joseph’s Seminary robes

Admission: Free    Location: Igreja de S. Jose, Rua do Seminario      Hours: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm   Closed on Wednesdays

Macau Museum Locations


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