Founded in 1975, The Hong Kong Museum of History is among the most fascinating sites visited in Hong Kong (Hong Kong Museum of History). In 1998, the museum changed its premise to a more modern one. The museum exhibits a number of points in history relevant to the people of China. The main purpose of the museum is to protect Hong Kong’s cultural heritage through acquisition, research, and conservation of cultural objects. The museum also aims at enhancing the public understanding of Hong Kong’s development and its exclusive cultural heritage via the exhibitions, collections, education, as well as outreach activities (Reiber). The museum is open to everyone with free admissions for children below the age of four.
The Hong Kong Museum of History entails eight galleries displaying more than 3700 exhibits, 750 dioramas, graphic panels and multimedia programs enhanced by unique lighting and audio-visual effects. In addition, it illustrates folk culture, the natural environment and Hong Kong’s historical development in a period of 400 million years. The galleries include:
- The Natural Environment
- Prehistoric Hong Kong
- The Dynasties : From The Han to the Qing
- Folk Culture in Hong Kong
- The Opium Wars and the Cession of Hong Kong
- Birth and Early Growth of the City
- The Japanese Occupation
- Modern Metropolis and the Return to China (Reiber).
The Hong Kong Story exhibition is a creditable attempt to narrate the unique history of the city. The Story begins with the creation of the natural history of the city and its early stages as a Neolithic settlement. It then continues to its development to a fishing village, its transformation to a modern metropolis and the handover to China in 1997. The museum has been able to attain this through its exhibits of dioramas, models of fishing boats, renovated traditional houses, clothing, furniture and items from day-to-day life. The museum also gives us an insight into the ethnic groups of Hong Kong and their beliefs, customs, and livelihoods.
The museum also features movie theaters that are spread all over the city, which illustrates the early development of the movie industry in the region The re-created Hong Kong’s old street catches the visitors’ eyes most. The street features everything including a tea house, a pawnshop, herbal medicine and a tailor’s shop. Further, the exhibition includes photographs of the nineteenth and early twentieth century, expressively depicting how much the country has been modified with time.
By putting the various artifacts together in the museum, the curators pursued a certain objective. The museum is attempting to address various messages to its visitors. In order to promote the sense of identity and belonging, it is important to foster heritage as it is believed to be an important cultural legacy. It encompasses the protection and preservation of various artifacts, which enables us to connect the past and present in terms of history, culture, and environment amongst others.
In the Hong Kong Museum of History, the curators have centered on preservation of old rocks. This falls under the prehistoric artifacts discovered in the region, which also encompass bronze, shell, pottery, and bone artifacts. The showpieces represent Hong Kong’s pre-history; thus, the museum administration attempts to deal with the delicate region’s predicament regarding the national identity. By studying the features and functions of these artifacts, visitors can be acquainted with the peculiarities of their ancestors’ lives.
Moreover, the curators have also focused on Hong Kong’s old photos which illustrating the daily routine of different people. The goal of the exhibition is to compare the social facets in the past and present. This will enable visitors to understand the modifications that have been experienced since then.
In conclusion, it should be noted that the museum is very informative and gives a real insight to the region’s history. It has excellent, colourful, interesting permanent displays of artifacts regarding Hong Kong’s history that help develop a great sense of significance of the past. It is probably true to say that the Hong Kong Museum of History is incomparable.