Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Museum

Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Museum

Located in the basement of a nondescript Shanghai apartment complex on Huashan Road facing Wukang Road, in the former French Concession area, is the Shanghai Propaganda Poster Museum, a cozy collection of Chinese propaganda posters dating from 1910 to 1990. As a private museum started by Yang Pei Ming, a local who began collecting posters back in 1995 when the Chinese government began purging propaganda materials in order to wipe the state’s political slate clean, the Shanghai Propaganda Poster Museum is an organically-grown, one of a kind institution. By documenting the evolution of modern China through the state-driven depictions printed on thousands upon thousands of boldly illustrated posters, over the years Yang managed to accumulate the largest and most comprehensive collection of Chinese propaganda posters in the world. While this hidden collection remained a controversial point of contention during the first decade it was opened to the public, in 2012 the museum obtained an official license from the government, to an extent highlighting the Chinese government’s evolving approach to acknowledging the country’s storied past. Gazing into the posters’ colorful iconography, the past several decades of China’s turbulent history come to life in a way no lecture or history book could ever hope to match, and although the voice of Chairman Mao is but a faint echo in the nation’s memory, these thousands of posters continue to provide a patchwork window for visitors to peer through.