How much do you know about the history, cultural and heritage of Hong Kong? There is a place where you can go to get a quick in-depth educational tour about the country of Hong Kong and is rated as one of the top attractions of the city.
The Hong Kong History Museum with it’s permanent exhibit known as the Hong Kong story, occupies 7000 sq meters, comprises of 8 galleries and 3,700 exhibits. “The Hong Kong Story” outlines the natural environments, culture and historical development of Hong King through its use of 750 graphic panels, lots of dioramas and multimedia exhibits.
Gallery 1 – The Natural Environment
Emerging from a ‘tunnel of time’ paved with stone slabs, we enter into a forest of towering trees as high as 18 metres, with specimens of birds, reptiles and mammals.
Gallery 2 – Prehistoric Hong Kong
We enter into prehistoric Hong Kong 6,000 years ago, with a 42m long beach diorama where several activities are depicted; such as making fire for cooking, building houses and making ornaments with stone.
Gallery 3 – From the Han to the Qing
This gallery outlines the development of Hong Kong form the Han to the Qing dynasties through the relics preserved in the territory and on loan from Shenzhen.
Gallery 4 – Folk Culture in Hong Kong
This section of the museum has one of the most elaborate dioramas which were so impressive, comprising of live sized junk boats, figures and living conditions of the 4 ethnic groups of Hong Kong and South China.
The Boat Dwellers’ living conditions
Making Salted Fish
A Hakka’s peasant family’s dwelling
The most impressive diorama from this section of the gallery has to be the reconstruction of the Taiping Qingjiao ceremony held annually in Cheng Chau, including the…
i. Cantonese Opera Theatre
ii. Backstage of the Opera
iii. The puppet theaters
iv. The Street stall
v. The amazing diorama includes the Lion Dance, the bun mountains, the altars etc
Gallery 5 – Opium Wars and Cessation of Hong Kong
This gallery outlines the Opium wars, their causes, the way they unfolded and the consequences.
Gallery 6 – Birth and Early Growth of the City
Now this is another intriguing part of the museum, which houses a three storey European style structure adjacent to a port scene and against the background of an old photograph of Kowloon.
Next to the bank is an old steam launch, all real sized
Behind the building stretches an old street scene lined with a variety of shops;
Quaint Shing Chai Tong shop selling herbal medicine
There’s even a dark alleyway with a stall selling fruits
And an actual double decker tram
Gallery 7 – The Japanese Occupation
No dioramas here, however the gallery is designed as an air raid shelter in order to create the atmosphere of war. Through the display of relics, historical photographs and videos, you can witness the battles during WWII and learn about the harsh living conditions during the Japanese Occupation.
Gallery 8 – Modern Metropolis and the Return to China
This last gallery follows the story of Hong Kong’s postwar development into a modern metropolis. In this area, are reconstruction of…
Hong Kong public housing in the 60s, which housed at least 8 people in one room
A herbal tea shop
A barber shop
Inside of the cinema showing snippets of old Hong Kong movies
A grocery shop
A comic book stall
The second part of Gallery 8 is devoted to the handover ceremony marking the return of Hong Kong’s sovereignty too China which brings ‘The Hong Kong Story’ exhibit to a close. If you have time for only one museum visit in Hong Kong, and have about 3 hours to spare, this is the place to go.
K and I were utterly intrigued by what we saw and experienced in the museum and in his words, “This is the 2nd best thing I saw in Hong Kong, first best thing is Lantau Beach. Singapore’s History Museum is really not so good.” One word for Singapore History Museum, “Dioramas”. Maybe all Singapore History Museum needs are more dioramas, and we will be a little more engaged with the exhibits there.
To get to Hong Kong History Museum, follow the same directions from Hung Hom MTR station, as this museum is located right opposite the Hong Kong Science Museum on the same side of the road. Admission is at HKD$10 for adult (cheap, cheap!!) and child HKD$5. Admission is free on Wednesdays and the museum is closed every Tuesdays. Audio guides, providing English commentaries on more than 100 exhibits in the museum, are available for HKD$10.
This post wraps up my blog series of Hong Kong 2012. This is just but a small part of Hong Kong that we have discovered from our recent trip to Hong Kong.
Here are the 7 parts of this series of posts :
Part 5 : Hong Kong Fresh Food Market
Part 6 : Hong Kong Science Museum
Part 7 : Hong Kong History Museum
All Photos for Hong Kong 2012 (with the exception of Part 4 – Lantau Beaches), was taken by yours truly with my trusty Canon 550D, with Tamron 17-55mm F2.8 and Tamron Wide Angle 10-24mm F3.5-4.5 lens.