• The museum Shanghai Memories is either moving or closing at the end of the month.

The museum Shanghai Memories is either moving or closing at the end of the month. (Photo : CNTV)

Private museum Shanghai Memories is being forced to leave its current location, prompting its owner to look for a new home of her collection of antiques.

The museum was set up seven years ago and displays a variety of household items from the late 1800s up until 1980.

Shanghai Memories houses about 1,000 antiques within the 200-square-meter confines of the museum. It even allows visitors to pick up and touch the pieces in its collection.

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The museum's owner is Wang Xiaojia, who has no professional museum management background. She was born in the 1980s and inherited a large collection of antiques from her family and decided to set up a museum in a warehouse space.

"Some elderly visitors found the exhibits were just like the things they used when they were young. And these bring back their memories. One visitor held my hands and said I was doing something very valuable. This encourages me to carry on," said Wang.

Wang needs to look for a new home for the museum's collection of antiques. Her lease on the space runs out by the end of September, and her landlord refuses to renew the contract.

Wang wants the museum to remain accessible to people, so she wants the new space to be close to public transport. The space also needs to be at least 200 square meters with high ceilings.

"Some shopping malls and culture gardens have invited me to move there. But I think those places are too commercial. I want to find a place that is close to our daily life. Visitors will first walk into a lane, then they see this museum and have an experience of time traveling," she said.

Since it was founded, Wang has financed the daily operations of the museum, but she covers some of the costs by charging visitors for taking photos and having tea at the museum.

Shanghai memories is not the only private museum in trouble.

Only 15 minutes away, people can go to Duolun Road, which no longer has any private museum despite having at least a dozen at some point. They have all closed down due to lack of funds.

Out of 122 museums in Shanghai, only 20 are registered as private museums.

According to Professor Lu Jiansong from Fudan University, the 10 million yuan a year that the Shanghai government allots for private museums is far from enough. He added that more public donations need to be encouraged to help private museums.

"Codes on museums allow charity funds to support private museums in China. But our government hasn't worked out detailed policies on the issue," said Lu.

"We lack a policy like the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act in the U.S., which promises a tax refund if you give donations to museums. We lack such a policy to encourage public donations. So it's really hard for private museums, especially those financed by individuals, to survive," Lu added.