Shanxi Museum, originally called Shanxi Provincial Museum, is a new large-scale modern museum complex completed in 2005. It has quickly gained a reputation as one of the finest museums in China. It consists of one main building with a floor area of 51000 square meters. The main building has a bold exterior design based on ancient Chinese artifacts, making it one of Taiyuan's most important public buildings.
The museum houses over 200,000 objects ranging from prehistoric artifacts to exhibits on art, architecture and the performing arts. The entire collection reflects the profound historical importance of the Shanxi region, and has excellent displays on the Xia
and Shang dynasties, the rise of Buddhism, the cultural diversity of the Shanxi region, and several more strong themes. There is also a whole section of the museum devoted to the arts, covering painting,
calligraphy, ceramics, and ancient architecture among others, and including, for example, an excellent display of shadow puppets. Displays are well-labeled in English and well-presented.