Ganxi Residence Report

Updated: Feb 9



Ganxi Residence—Nanjing Folk-custom Museum

It was built in 1796-1820 as a private residential house. In 1986, the government purchased the house and opened to the public. Right now, it is the largest and most complete private residential house in Nanjing which contains more than 160 rooms. One of the interesting things is that it only contains one entrance which shows the culture of the period. The exhibition shows various customs and habits of people living at that time, such like how they get married, what they eat, what they play and etc. It also shows what was the house used to be and who lived here.

Here is the report for my trip:

Take photos and note an exhibit in particular that caught your eye

I really like the story telling approach that they create a series of story vividly by providing related objects. For example, the photo I showed was one part of the story of how they got married. They Instead of just providing some pictures and captions, those related objects could stimulate our imagination. I feel like this window display is very successful that attract people to read the captions.

There is another example, when they would like to talk about what it used to be, they build the simulated models to visualize what happened during that period. I felt like those visualization skills for story is very useful and helpful.

The different length of captions. What’s the purpose of the captions…what do you think it should be? Did the captions you saw satisfy you?

The purposes of captions are used for introduction and explanation. It contains title, descriptions, story or history. The captions itself involve in the environment that bring me a sense of embracing. They also set the captions parallel with eye level which made it very readable. One other thing, I feel like the size of the captions is also nice as well. Compared with some art museums which only provide small text description, the captions of this museum are more friendly for visitors.

Imagine you are a child (4.5 feet or under) of a different race and gender background from you. Look for yourself in the are you represented?

First, the table of the object is low enough to let me see the whole objects. Second, I feel like it is an interesting museum that bring me the history of some customs which is more related to life. I found many objects which is quite similar and seems like I have seen in my live but seems like it still contains difference. This thoughts attract me to stand for more time to think. Third, it contains a lot of models instead of just pictures or videos which is easy for me to look. Even I maybe could not quite understand that, I felt like watching the model or pictures could make more impression in my mind. They also introducing the local folk artisans doing hand-making in front of us.

Your impressions of the look and feel of the whole place. What works, what doesn’t?

I feel like everything is great expect the design of circulation. Due to high similarity, I always lose my way in the museum. Even I knew they already provide a map at the entrance, I felt like it might be great to provide any suggestions.

Do you feel welcomed, is the place intimidating or comfortable, what’s the atmosphere?

Every place has an emotional, social and intellectual gestalt. Do your best to describe it.

A word (or two) for its personality?

I felt very comfortable during the whole trip. First, because it was built on an historic building, so it contains well arrangement of landscape. Then, they provide chairs which allowed you to take a rest and enjoy the whole museum. Moreover, the museum provides a relaxing music as a background which slow our paces and enjoy the whole journey. If I use one word to describe that I would like to chose “Serenity”.

A memorable object, exhibit, hall or interaction (person-to-person).

This one was the room of the famous singer at that time. They restore the original room. I was surprised by how they organized, what is the old furniture looks like. For example, the old piano is very small and made by wood.

Hospitality: how hard is it to find the bathrooms, how nice are the guards, can you find your way around.

It is not hard to find the bathroom since they provide the instruction.

Who’s there? Ages, demographics, and other details you notice about visitors.

How do people socialize at the museum?

Many of them were families like parents bring their children or I also saw many old people with their grandchild. I seldom saw people ask questions in the museum.

Think about what behaviors the museum space supports in regards to socializing, learning, and engagement.

They provide documentary for people to view, they also invite folk artisans to made a live show for the production of the artworks.


I think it is not just design for one person. It is representing the culture of the people in old Nanjing.

Unfortunately, they do not have their own website. I felt like it is a good point that they could build their own website to attract more visitors.

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