The Phonograph Museum

Lushunkou, Dalian China

Memories of the Phonograph


According to local media reports, the Phonograph Museum at Taiyang Valley in Lushunkou, Dalian, northeastern China's Liaoning province, has been renovated and reopened for visitors on August 3, 2019.

The Phonograph Museum is the largest old-fashioned gramophone museum in China. After upgrading and renovation, its exhibition area has increased by nearly 700 square meters to over 1,600 square meters. The number of exhibits on show in the museum has increased to over 1,000 and the number of items in its collection has increased to more than 2,000. The scale and quality of the museum's collection in the museum are among the highest in China.


A worker (left) introduces an exhibit to visitors [Photos & text from WeChat account of Lushunkou release]







The following is extracted from an article about this museum titled "Sound of a Century" published on 8-12-2018


“Let’s give a cheer for these magical sounds from 100 years ago!” cries Wang, encouraging his audience of some 20 tourists, who’ve come from around the world to explore his phonography museum, a damp storage building that Wang, a retiree in his 60s, has converted into a unique private collection.

Dating from 1887 to 1979, over 25,000 records and antique phonographs offer a unique insight into musical and military history.

Although Lüshun’s tragic history as a locus of siege and slaughter is an inerasable scar on 20th-century China, Wang’s museum manages to evoke what warmth and culture existed during this turbulent period. For Wang, the records are “loyal witnesses” to history, and can awaken powerful memories for future generations to learn from.

Many, including the first generation of wax and lakh (or gum) records made in China in the 1900s, are highly valuable, and contain musical masterpieces from contemporaneous artists such as Tan Xinpei, Mei Lanfang, Ma Lianliang, and Zhou Xuan. Other collectors have frequently approached Wang, determined to buy them at any price, but he says he has refused to sell.

However, as a private museum, Wang must rely on the public to cover operational expenses, due to a lack of government funding. Chinese regulations have encouraged the establishment of private museums in recent years, but subsidies vary by region, and Lüshun is not prosperous. Instead, local officials offered Wang the building at a discount, and ticket sales cover most of the rest. Phonographs degrade every time when they are played, but Wang does the maintenance himself—and is even training an apprentice.

“Collecting and preserving phonographs and records has been my lifelong hobby,” Wang tells TWOC. “Unlike most residents at my age, I’m not interested in mahjong, poker, or chess. Even in my youth, I didn’t go to ballrooms or karaoke.”

“Am I strange? Maybe,” he muses. “I’ve always hoped to establish a museum for my beloved items—and now I’ve achieved it.”









Stills courtesy of DiscoverDalian YouTube