Located in the city of Hohhot, which is part of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of northern China, the Inner Mongolian Museum is unique among China’s museums. The museum is home to rare collections that represent Mongolians, Xiongnu, Qidan, and other northern tribes of China. The museum also famously contains regional dinosaur bones, a massive fossil collection as well as an entire floor devoted to the life of Genghis Khan.
The museum was built in 1957, which was the ten-year anniversary of the founding of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. As the capital of the region, Hohhot was the ideal city to house the regional collections of artifacts that convey the history of Mongolia and other regional tribes that made their home in north China. Many of the relics are of great cultural significance for these tribes. The museum owns more than 44,000 ethnically important objects that draw thousands of visitors annually from China and throughout the world.
Built in a style that is reflective of both traditional northern architecture and contemporary functionality, the museum is composed of two main floors. The first floor is divided into various sections denoting special exhibitions; these exhibitions are devoted to the imperial garments and ornaments worn by Mongolian kings and the upper classes, regional folk art and relics, ancient regional history and prehistory (dinosaur bones and fossils are contained here), and displays of contemporary achievements of Han Chinese in the region. The second floor contains displays that illustrate the life of Genghis Khan. The unique exhibition also pays tribute to other Khans such as Kublai Khan.
Travelers are particularly interested to see the extensive women’s costumes collection. The museum is also famous for the religious artifacts it unearthed after archaeological excavations were launched in the north. Objects relating to the horse cultures, like saddles and hunting implements are also of particular interest to visitors of the museum. Nevertheless, the fossilized remains of dinosaurs and other ancient creatures like wooly mammoths continue to draw crowds to the museum. In fact, the museum is home to one of the country’s largest dinosaur skeleton-a brontosaurus. Since Inner Mongolia is regarded as the “Land of Fossils,” it isn’t surprising that this museum is home to such a renowned collection of Mesozoic fossils.
As the Mongol Empire once reigned from the Eastern coast of China all the way to Turkey, many objects were left behind by this monumental empire and its culture. Having a museum devoted to their cultural importance is a great source of pride to the people of the region. Open daily from nine until five, the museum is an essential attraction of northern China-one that illuminates the history of Mongols and other northern tribes.
2011 Moira G Gallaga©