On the east side of Tiananmen Square is this massive museum, its dozens of halls filled with rare artifacts and antiquities. Its exhibitions span Chinese history, beginning nearly two million years ago (two teeth belonging to Yuanmou Man) up through the 1912, the last year of China’s last imperial dynasty, the Qing. Its permanent collection has more than a million pieces, including bronzes, coins, porcelain and ceramic objects, tools, and even clothing. Especially impressive are the cases of jade pieces, many several hundred years old, which shine bright as ever. The museum can feel a bit overwhelming but, as it’s free, you can return as many times as you like, taking it in in more manageable bites.