Sackler family funded institutions are dotted across some of the world’s most reputable educational establishments, and Peking University isn’t one to miss out. The Sackler Museum of Art and Archaeology opened in 1993, almost ten years after it was first conceived. To find it, make your way through the west gate (don’t forget your ID, as the guards may check) and head north for a few minutes. With an earthy red row of painted wooden pillars supporting a decorative blue framework, the building is a fine example of Ming Dynasty architectural style, despite being built in the late 1980s and early ’90s.
The museum houses a large collection of archeological materials, including Shang-era pots, human remains and early examples of cast bronzes. Labels are provided in both Chinese and (sometimes poor) English, but if you really want to learn more a guided tour is 100RMB. The museum’s permanent collection spans over 280,000 years, beginning with Stone Age tool artefacts and concluding with 20th-century period costumes and household wares.
If your attention span is limited, venture into the Jillian Sackler Sculpture Gardens, which are overlooked by the museum. Originally part of the Old Summer Palace, these serene gardens are laid out along a series of paths. After being left in ruins since 1860, when British and French troops set fire to the palace grounds, they are now meticulously cared for. Clare Pennington
Tours in English and Chinese available for 100RMB per person. Free entry.