The modern Suzhou Museum is home to a dazzling array of artifacts from Suzhou’s millennia of settlement. Built in 2006, the museum was designed by U.S.-based, Japan-born architect I.M. Pei. Its black-trimmed white exterior is an ultra-modern interpretation of traditional Suzhou houses — the museum's design is quickly becoming an architectural icon.
The museum owns more than 15,000 objects. All aspects of Suzhou culture are represented here. You'll see everything from truly ancient unearthed relics to classic Chinese arts (paintings, calligraphy, porcelain, and carved gems). You can also enter the reconstructions of ancient Chinese homes.
Historically, Suzhou has been associated with royalty and wealth, so the city has long played a leading role in China’s silk trade. The fabric was originally reserved for Chinese emperors, but once its use spread to the entire ruling class and then to the gentry, silk cultivation became an integral part of Suzhou’s commerce. The city’s fortunes grew as the fabric spread throughout China and then to the rest of Asia and beyond. In the museum’s “Ming and Qing Street” installation, you can see the golden age of Suzhou’s silk industry come alive. Replicas of long-standing silk stores offer a glimpse into the silk trade’s glory days.
Combining a sense of ancient civilization with modern style, the dignified and elegant museum covers an area of 9,460 square meters, with the theme of "the Silk Road", a road symbolized the communication between the east and the west in Chinese history. Suzhou Silk Museum takes white as its dominant color which is the natural color of silk. The museum can be divided into several parts: the Introductory Hall, the Ancient Exhibit Hall, the Silkworm-Rearing Room, the Silk Weaving Workshop, the Neoteric (1840 - 1919) Exhibit Hall, and the Modern (1919 - 1949) Exhibit Hall. There are also retail stores for purchasing silk.