1st WorldSkills Museum opens along Huangpu River

Zhu Yile
The WorldSkills Competition tests the world's most skilled workers against each other, with more than 2,000 of the results shown in the Shanghai museum.
Zhu Yile

Shot by Zhu Yile. Edited by Zhu Yile. Subtitles by Zhu Yile.

The WorldSkills Competition, acclaimed as the "Olympics of world skills," represents the globe's advanced levels of vocational skills development.

To date, WorldSkills International (formerly the International Vocational Training Organization) has organized 45 editions of the WorldSkills Competition, with Shanghai securing the hosting rights for the 2026 WorldSkills Competition.

The WorldSkills Museum, open to the public for free as the world's only official museum of WorldSkills International, is situated under Yangpu Bridge.

The structure was transformed from a century-old building, the Wing On textile storehouse which was built in 1922. During the renovation process, experts adhered to the principle of "repairing the old as it was," and preserved the distinctive octagonal columns of the original building.

It comprises four floors, with the ground floor serving as an entrance hall, the second and third floors featuring exhibits and interactive installations on different themes, and the fourth floor designated as the experiential interactive area.

The museum's collection team has traveled across the country and to member countries and regions of WorldSkills International. They have collected more than 2,000 precious artifacts from 39 member countries and regions across five continents, as well as contributions from global partners.

Chinese elements, Shanghai symbols, craftsmanship, and the spirit of WorldSkills International are seamlessly integrated.

The museum features several core exhibition areas, including "Tools and Our World," "Celebrating a Ssuccessful Global Movement," "Skills Development and China," "Building a Better World with Skills," and "Skills and Industrial Revolution."

1st WorldSkills Museum opens along Huangpu River

"The World Engine" in the entrance hall attracts much attention.

The design of the installation "The World Engine" in the entrance hall manifests the core spirit of excellence and innovation, portraying the intricacy of the revolving parts that symbolize the ingenuity and precision of skilled workers.

The seven sliding tracks represent the continuous flow of communication among cultures across continents. The 63 small running spheres represent skilled workers from various professions participating in WorldSkills Competitions.

Visitors need to make reservations in advance and visit the museum during the scheduled time slots. The interactive experiences on the fourth floor have specific opening hours and require separate reservations.

Tools and Our World

In this exhibition area, items such as pots, saws, wheels and adjustment screws are displayed, each accompanied by interactive games including "lighting the fire to heat the pot," "sawing wood," "turning the wheel," and "adjusting the screw." These activities aim to showcase the significance of tools in people's daily lives.

The wheel installation represents the pottery wheel used by humans in the Neolithic era. As you rotate the handle of the wheel, an animated video unfolds on the wall, depicting historical stories related to the wheel.

1st WorldSkills Museum opens along Huangpu River
Zhu Yile

The wheel is the focus of an interactive installation.

Celebrating a Successful Global movement

The second exhibition area serves as the museum's core section, showcasing the origin and history of WorldSkills International. It features over 400 exhibits, including valuable materials, such as reports, posters, photographs and diaries.

Historical introductions, replicas of award ceremony briefings, thank-you letters, promotional posters for the 1951 Spanish Regional Skills Competition (replicas), and a diary from a glass-craft apprentice (a replica) are displayed in the area.

Among these exhibits, one diary stands out: "I will never ever forget this adventure and I am thankful to all my friends who helped me in realizing this journey," wrote Klaus Etzel, a German teenager, after the 1953 competition.

Accompanying this, a thank-you letter signed by international representatives expressed gratitude to a European Union official in West Germany. This official played a crucial role in arranging for local companies to send their best apprentices.

In a noteworthy mention, Albert Vidal, a blacksmith's son, decided to bring together young people for skill training and employment after the end of World War II, thus changing their lives. Vidal presided over 31 competitions in his lifetime.

1st WorldSkills Museum opens along Huangpu River
Zhu Yile

A young man is assisted in a classroom by Albert Vidal, in 1952.

In this exhibition area, a green Olivetti Lettera 32 typewriter is on display, the very device Vidal used to draft his speeches and letters.

Among the documents typed on this portable machine were early charters of WorldSkills International, representing nearly 50 years of Vidal's dedication to the development of the organization.

1st WorldSkills Museum opens along Huangpu River
Zhu Yile

An Olivetti Lettera 32 typewriter on display is the device Albert Vidal used to draft speeches and letters.

To honor and commemorate his contributions, WorldSkills International established the Albert Vidal Award, presented to the participant with the highest overall score in all events at each WorldSkills Competition. Only one award is given per competition.

Chinese Song Biao from Changzhou, Jiangsu Province, achieved the remarkable feat of winning a gold medal at the 44th WorldSkills Competition in Abu Dhabi in 2017, along with earning the highest accolade – the Albert Vidal Award.

1st WorldSkills Museum opens along Huangpu River
Zhu Yile

A replica of a the commemorative gift awarded to Albert Vidal Award winner Song Biao, which was a statue of a dhow – a traditional Arab sailing vessel.

There are two highlights in the exhibition area — an architectural model of the Wing On textile storehouse and Qing Dynasty Emperor Qianlong's bahua famille rose vase.

The Wing On textile storehouse, one of 69 immovable cultural relics along the Yangpu riverside and the site of the WorldSkills Museum, is showcased in a display case. The restored building has been given heritage status due to its important associations, particularly with Yangpu's textile industry in the early 20th century when the district buzzed with the whir and hum of spindles and looms.

The bahua famille rose vase from the Jingdezhen Jiangyao Ceramics Factory steals the spotlight in a series of displays featuring intangible cultural heritage items.

This rose vase, crafted with a technique called "bahua," is a decorative form of famille rose porcelain art. Artisans in Jingdezhen refer to it as "bahua," and it is described in the records of the Qing Imperial Household Department as "jǐn shàng tiān huā" (literally "adding flowers to silk fabric with colorful patterns," metaphorically describing the act of enhancing beauty or adding joy to an already delightful situation).

The museum not only features a 3D video illustrating the production process but also outlines five different stages of the vase-making process, facilitating a comprehensive understanding.

Additionally, the innovative masterpiece "Starry Sky" from modern Suzhou embroidery integrates contemporary art into traditional Suzhou embroidery craftsmanship, offering a unique visual experience.

1st WorldSkills Museum opens along Huangpu River
Zhu Yile

An over-glaze cat-shaped porcelain pillow from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) fired in the Cizhou Kiln.

1st WorldSkills Museum opens along Huangpu River
Zhu Yile

The Emperor Qianlong's bahua famille rose vase made by the Jingdezhen Jiangyao Ceramics Factory.

Building a Better World with Skills & Skills and Industrial Revolution

The interactive experiences here are more engaging than previous exhibition areas, such as holographic projection, infrared interaction, artificial intelligence, and human-machine interaction.

For example, there's an interactive installation for spray painting where you can pick up a spray gun, move the cursor, and graffiti a wall.

The interactive display of the Waste Management Autonomous Robot is particularly popular among children. You can take on the role of a professional technician overseeing the robot, engaging in the collection and handling of hazardous waste, and gaining insights into how robots contribute to maintaining urban environments.

There's also a pedal-powered pump and purification system. This system, which made its debut at the 2017 WorldSkills Competition in Abu Dhabi, relies on community water sources such as rivers and ponds to produce drinking water for the community.

You can also find information about James Hargreaves, a textile worker and carpenter who invented the Spinning Jenny, considered a hallmark of the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. It facilitated the transition from home-based spinning to mechanized spinning, fundamentally changing the global textile industry.

1st WorldSkills Museum opens along Huangpu River
Zhu Yile

The interactive display shows a pedal-powered pump and purification system.

1st WorldSkills Museum opens along Huangpu River
Zhu Yile

These colored nail tips were shown at the WorldSkills Kazan 2019 competition.

If you go:

Opening hours: 9am-5pm (closed on Mondays)

Admission: Free (reservations required; available for booking 7 days in advance, additional reservations needed for interactive activities)

Address: 1578 Yangshupu Rd, Yangpu District


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