I arrived early at Mao’s mausoleum (8.45) but the queue already had a million people in it, so I went to the Capital Museum. The tickets are free but you have to queue up, unless you reserve one here. It’s quite a modern museum, with several floors. When I went the first level had an exhibition about Tiananmen.
The other floors have the usual Chinese obsession with pottery, calligraphy and jade. Not much about the actions of men except one floor about Beijing. It has quite a nifty world timeline around the outside wall as a context for local events. However it stops in 1949.
From here I went to the Military Museum. The queue was long (20min) but worth it. It’s free to enter – just present your passport. If you go here expect to deal with crowds, and like all Chinese museums the glass is covered with noseprints.
The galleries about WW2 and the Civil War were quite good, but made it look like China defeated japan by itself in WW2, with no help from anyone else.
One gallery was about the modern forces, but was only in Chinese.
One gallery was entirely gifts presented to China from exchanges and visits. The best one was:
Outside there are a whole swag of vehicles and aircraft, of which the most interesting is: