Located in the Dali Ancient Town, the Dali Municipal Museum covers an area of 21,510 square meters. The Museum was originally home to Du Wenxiu (1828-1872), who is well known for leading the Hui ethnic minority revolt against the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) in 1856. The battle lasted 18 years, and the mansion was destroyed soon after Du's defeat in 1872. After extensive renovations, the mansion finally opened to the public as the Dali Municipal Museum in 1987.
The museum was listed as a key culture relic under provincial protection in 1993. As the first municipal museum of Yunnan, it is a perfect example of Bai architecture style buildings, a good place to know the history and culture of Bai people and Yunnan Province. Due to the significance of Du Wenxiu's uprising and his resistance to the control by Qing Dynasty, the mansion was appointed as an education base in 1998.
The museum consists of a front hall, a back hall, meridian gates inside the mansion and two floral halls in the southern and northern parts. The mansion boasts many functional rooms: military-political-affair setup, living rooms, studies, and storerooms.
The Flora Hall (located in the southern part of the museum) has more than 120 pieces of stone steles carved in different dynasties ranging from Song Dynasty (960-1279) to Qing Dynasty on display. It is reputed as the most influential steles forest in Yunnan Province. These exhibits provide valuable materials and historical data tracking the development of the local culture in the past dynasties. The Flora Hall (located in the northern part of the museum) houses stoneware, crockery, bronze implements, porcelains, and jade articles that were excavated in and around Dali. On display throughout the museum are also wood carvings, stone carvings, jade carvings, calligraphies and paintings. The wood carving 'Manjusri Bodhisattva Riding on a Lion' has received recognition worldwide while exhibiting in Japan and Switzerland during the 1990s.