The Hong Kong Museum of History is an outstanding exhibition that takes you through a fabulous educational and cultural odyssey from the formation of Hong Kong's natural landscape more than 400 million years ago up until the handover of the territory from British hands to China in 1997 and the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
The centerpiece of the Museum is "The Hong Kong Story", a permanent collection of eight galleries comprised of hundreds of striking life-size exhibits.
The exhibits take you in a very entertaining manner through the history and development of the territory. Accompanying the exhibits are the many
multimedia displays, videos and graphics that expand on the themes being covered.
"The Hong Kong Story"
"The Hong Kong Story" is beautifully told through these eight magnificent galleries:
The Natural Environment: The Hong Kong Story begins 400 million years ago and the many geological periods that gave way to Hong Kong's topography and the ecosystem to support the flora and fauna of 6,000 years ago.
Prehistoric Hong Kong: The life-size exhibits give you a glimpse at the early inhabitants' lives and customs. There are also prehistoric artefacts of stone, pottery and bronze in display.
From the Han to the Qing Dynasties: The Han People of Central China brought their culture and technology to Hong Kong during the Qin and Han Dynasties, giving a boost to Hong Kong's economy. There are many relics from this period that have been preserved in this gallery.
Ethnic Groups in Hong Kong: There were four ethnic groups that settled in Hong Kong prior to the arrival of the British: the Hakka, the Punti, the Boat Dwellers or Tanka people, and the Hoklo.
In this section, the customs of these four groups are displayed in a very colorful array of exhibits and replicas, this was perhaps one of our favourite galleries, the Hong Kong Folk Culture displays are really fantastic.
The Boat Dwellers exhibit is one of the most eye-catching, it includes a real-size replica of a fishing junk and the many customs and living conditions are replicated throughout the exhibit.
Fishing Junk at the Boat Dwellers Exhibit
The sea Dwellers people's livelihood depended on fishing
The Tanka people customs and artifacts depicting their living conditions
The Hakka people's frugal lifestyle
You also get to walk through the "center of the town" and typical scenes from every day life: a home, the town's temple, a traditional celebration, a lion dance and a Cantonese Opera set.
The Town's Temple and a Lion Dance during festivities
A Taoist Altar
Deities and gods worshipped during the celebrations
More festivity regalia and decorations
A scene from the Cheung Chau Bun Festival
The Cantonese Opera Theater
The Opium Wars and the Cession of Hong Kong: This gallery outlines how the Opium Wars came to be and the ceding of Hong Kong to Britain. There is also a film which is a great resource to gain a better understanding about these events.
Birth and Early Growth of the City: Another of our favourite galleries, a street scene from the early days is replicated with the variety of shops and buildings: the barber, bank, post office, grocer...
...medicine shop... tea shop...
... even a double-decker tram!
The final two galleries at the Hong Kong Museum of History, the Japanese Ocupation and Modern Metropolis and the Return to China take you through these stages with displays of historical photographs, films, documents and memorabilia. We enjoyed one of the movies in the last gallery about Leisure and Entertainment in Hong Kong in the 1960s and 1970s, it was fun for the kids to watch how mom and dad's entertainment was like without video games... imagine that! ... and that brings "The Hong Kong Story" to the end, for now, as the story is pretty much ongoing.
How to get to the Hong Kong Museum of History?
1) MTR Jordan Station Exit D. Walk along Austin Road towards Tsim Sha Tsui East for approximately 20 minutes, or
2) MTR Tsim Sha Tsui Station Exit B2. Walk along Cameron Road towards East Tsim Sha Tsui for approximately 20 minutes, or
3) MTR East Tsim Sha Tsui Station Exit P2. Walk along the Chatham Road South for 15 minutes
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Tips for Visiting the Hong Kong Museum of History
- Admission to the permanent exhibits is FREE!
- The museum is closed on Tuesdays
- Allow at least a couple of hours, but longer if you are watching the movies and don't want to rush through the exhibits.
- Movies are presented in English, Cantonese and Mandarin and rotate continuously with sub-titles in English and Chinese.
- Self-guided audio tour is only HK10, and well worth it but only available in Cantonese, English, Mandarin and Japanese. Do allow more time so you can stroll leisurely thorugh the exhibits.
- FREE Guided tours on Saturdays and Sundays: 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 and 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Limit 30 people, register at the entrance
- The Science Museum is right next door and a visit can be combined
- Opening hours are 10:00a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Sundays and holidays until 7:00 p.m.
- Check the Museum's Official Website for latest info.
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