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12 July 2023

WorldSkills Museum set to open this year

The world’s first museum exclusively devoted to vocational skills will open its doors in Shanghai, China, in November 2023.

The WorldSkills Museum is in a 100-year-old former cotton warehouse in Shanghai’s historic YangPu district.

Vocational skills will soon have a global landmark in Shanghai, China with a permanent exhibition that explores the past, present, and future of skills and skilled workers. A collaboration between WorldSkills International and WorldSkills China, the WorldSkills Museum is the first in the world dedicated to vocational skills.

Divided into six zones across approximately 2,500 m², the WorldSkills Museum will use engaging and immersive formats to tell the story of WorldSkills and skills. The collection is housed in what was once the Wing On textile storehouse - a 100-year-old former cotton warehouse in Shanghai’s historic YangPu district. The building has been restored to maintain its original industrial look while combining innovative materials and modern spaces.

The WorldSkills Museum project kicked off in 2017 as part of Shanghai’s winning bid to host the 46th WorldSkills Competition. Although progress on the build was delayed due to the pandemic, over the past six years, a dedicated team have identified and sourced more than 700 assets from across the globe, mostly from private collections, former Competitors or Experts, WorldSkills Members, Global Partners, or from WorldSkills International’s archive. These have been complimented by domestic assets identified and sourced by the local team in Shanghai.

With exhibition construction close to completion and the majority of assets in place, the WorldSkills Museum will start trial operations with controlled groups of visitors in mid-July and is planning its official opening to the general public in November.

“It is exciting to think that we will soon be welcoming visitors and taking them on a journey to increase their level of awareness and understanding of the importance and value of skills throughout history and into the future,” said Mark Callaghan, WorldSkills Museum Project Director.

In recent visits to Shanghai, the WorldSkills Museum project team worked alongside their local counterparts at the exhibition site. After years of remote work, the team had the opportunity to see “the collaborative efforts of all project partners, and the many hundreds of hours of design meetings come to life,” added Mr Callaghan.

The WorldSkills Museum collection gathers artefacts that show the central role of skills and skilled workers in human development, social and economic progress, industry, or innovation.

One of the zones is dedicated to the history of the WorldSkills and sheds light on the origins of the movement, portraying the personal stories of Competitors, Experts, and Delegates, and describing the evolution of the movement that has changed lives and societies across the world. The collection includes 43 trophies and medals from almost every international competition since 1950.

“The WorldSkills Museum project has also allowed us to collect much of the history of this organization, especially from its early years. Many have shared their most cherished memories and objects for this project with great excitement,” said Nuria Portland, WorldSkills Museum Project Coordinator.

The Museum also includes an exhibition focusing on skills development and China, highlighting some of the enduring contributions of Chinese civilization to the world and the country’s commitment to traditional as well as advanced technological skills.

Following the cancellation of WorldSkills Shanghai 2022, WorldSkills China presented an updated proposal to host WorldSkills Competition 2026 which was approved by Members at the General Assembly in 2022.

The next WorldSkills Competition following WorldSkills Lyon 2024 will take place in Shanghai in September of 2026.