Located on the fourth floor of the impressive Shanghai Oriental Arts Centre
, the Shanghai Gallery of Antique Music Boxes and Mechanical Works hosts a collection of mechanical instruments and inventions dating from the 18th century to today. From the world’s oldest music box from 1796 to life-like songbirds dressed in real feathers, the exhibition is a show-off of motorised wizardry and automata engineering from France, Germany, Switzerland, USA and Japan.
Highlights include a Swiss mechanical doll that realistically mimics the movements of a drunk man while his jacket plays the wind-up organ and the 'Android Artist', a 1990s reproduction of a moving sketch-artist, is highly impressive.
The entrance fee includes thorough demonstrations of the various musical boxes, automatic organs and mechanical dolls by the museum guides. Although demonstrations are in Chinese only, English speakers can enjoy the visual demonstrations, and signage exists in both languages.
Please note the museum also has a strict no photograph policy.