Hong Kong Museum of History
Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrMany first-time visitors to Hong Kong may fall under the erroneous impression that this city, nowadays, is all about shopping, eating, shopping, drinking, and more shopping. Although those are certainly all very enjoyable pursuits, this most enigmatic city boasts a long and tumultuous history which is well worth exploring. If you’re interested in learning more about the trials and tribulation of Hong Kong through the years, then visit the Museum of History in Kowloon and add a bit of cultural enlightenment to your trip.
OverviewHong Kong’s Museum of History is an incredible complex comprising several exhibition halls, which aim to educate visitors on the natural, political and cultural history of the city over the last four millennia. The outstanding exhibits, complete with life-size sculptures, interactive displays and informative plaques, showcase all the information in chronological order. You can literally walk through the formation of the islands, the original ancient settlements and authentic street scenes of the last century. Informative, attention-grabbing, and highly fascinating, this may well be one of the most enthralling museums you’re ever likely to visit. Whether you’re travelling alone or with kids in tow, you’ll find enough interactive learning to be had here for hours on end.
What You’ll Find During Your VisitMany thought it is impossible to squeeze 400 million years of history into one, relatively small space, yet all who have come here since its 1998-refurbishment, think it could not have been done any better. There are several permanent exhibits as well as a wide range of temporary collections which rotate every year.
The Hong Kong StoryA total of eight comprehensive galleries are dedicated to telling the story of Hong Kong from the earliest recorded times, to the present day. They run the gamut from the earliest geological features, to the first humans in the region, and to their eventual, modern evolution. The most eye-catching of all the galleries, would have to be the Boat Dwellers Exhibit, which shows the earliest residents adapting to a boat-village life. The permanent galleries are, in order:
- The natural environment
- Prehistoric Hong Kong
- The Dynasties: from the Han to the Qin
- Folk culture in Hong Kong
- The Opium Wars and cession of Hong Kong
- Birth and early growth
- The Japanese occupation
- Modern Metropolis and the return to China
The Imperial Examination SystemThe so-called Imperial Examination System was a system created during China’s imperial era, in order to recruit suitable public servants to satisfy the country’s bureaucratic needs. The ideal behind these homogenous tests was that people would be awarded a position based on merit, not background or level of formal education. As most of the examination was based on cultural knowledge, it was seen as a fair way for the great majority of people, who would perhaps lack technical knowledge, to be awarded positions in the country’s higher bureaucracy. Its effect on the cultural and political shaping of China over 1,300 years has been well documented, and this impressive exhibit runs through its history: from conception, to evolution and eventual demise.
All the exhibits are made up of archaeological relics and reconstructed scenes, giving visitors an incredibly realistic and enticing lesson of Hong Kong’s history.
Tips & Hints
- A guided tour is highly recommended for those who want to make the most of their visit, although note that English-language tours are only available at 10.30AM and 2.30PM on weekends.
- Although we’d normally not recommend you visit a popular attraction on week-ends, this is precisely what you should do. The museum runs an extensive list of educational lectures and programmes for school kids, and can be overrun with excitable children during the week.
- If you can’t visit during guided times, then you can rent a HK$10 ($1.30) audio guide which will do an excellent job of guiding you around the exhibits.
- You’ll find a cosy cafe serving refreshments inside the museum, as well as a well-stocked souvenir shop.
- The most interesting section, for foreign visitors, is that found on the second floor. It covers the entire period of British rule.
- Throughout the museum you will find small theatres showing original, historic videos, which are incredibly interesting to watch.
- The museum is wheelchair-accessible.
Ticket PricesAdults: HK$10 ($1.30) and kids under 4 get in free.
The museum is open from 10AM to 6PM during the week (closed on Tuesdays) and closes at 7PM on weekends.
How to Get ThereTake the MTR to Tsim Sha Tsui station on Victoria Harbor, and take the P2 exit. Walk along Chatham Road for about 10 minutes and you will see the museum on the RHS. If coming from Hung Hom station (the closest), take exit D1 and follow the pedestrian overpass which will take you directly to the museum.
- Hong Kong Science Museum
- Hong Kong Space Museum
- Kowloon Park
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Author: Laura Pattara. Last updated: Jan 26, 2015