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Current Exhibitions



Images Through Time: Photos of Old Hong Kong

Photography has become the most direct medium for people across the world to understand China since its introduction of photography to the country in the mid-nineteenth century. Owing to the special political circumstances, Hong Kong then became a natural stopover for foreign photographers on their way to the Mainland. These photographers took many pictures on the early development of Hong Kong, while some of them even established studios in Hong Kong specializing in taking portraits and selling scenery pictures of South China. These pictures are all invaluable research materials for studying the history of modern China and the history of photography in China.

The Hong Kong Museum of History has established a sizable collection comprising a great variety of historical artefacts. Among them, the old photo collection with 14,000 prints and other related items is the most significant hoard of the museum. The exhibitions on old photos staged over the past decades were all very well received.

In mid-2012, Moonchu Foundation agreed to loan about 10,000 old photos of China (including those taken in Hong Kong) recently purchased in the United Kingdom together with batches of valuable old China photos acquired through auctions to the Hong Kong Museum of History for exhibition and research purposes. The collection of Monnchu Foundation captures precious historical scenes, covering streets and everyday life, leisure and commercial activities of the city, vividly illustrating the social development of Hong Kong from the mid-nineteenth to the early twentieth century. With this offer, we embarked on the organisation of a mega photo exhibition. In collaboration with the Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong (THEI), the exhibition will employ advanced technology and creative skills for producing a series of multimedia programmes, in which the scenes of old Hong Kong will be reconstructed through utilizing the old photos offered by Moonchu Foundation and the museum's old photo collection. It will surely give visitors an extraordinary experience of travelling back in time and visiting some scenic spots in old Hong Kong.

Public Guided Tour Schedule

Audio Guide Service
The Audio Guide Service for special exhibition "Images Through Time: Photos of Old Hong Kong" will be available from 1 January 2014 (Wed) onwards. Cantonese, English and Putonghua versions are available to introduce the exhibit highlights. Please check details with the Audio Guide Service Counter on 1/F Lobby.


Female Ward of the temporary epidemic hospital during the Hong Kong Plague in 1894
(Collection of Moonchu Foundation

The waterfront of Sai Ying Pun in the late 19th century. Shops selling salted fish and dried seafood can be seen in this photo. The area has been known as "Salted Fish Market" since then.
(Collection of Moonchu Foundation)

Sai Wan Ho in 1908. Staff quarters built by Taikoo are just completed as seen in the photograph.
(Collection of the Hong Kong Museum of History)

Po Tuck Street looking east from Hill Road, c. 1920s.
(Collection of the Hong Kong Museum of History)

A group photo of the teaching staff of Queen's College in 1905.
(Collection of Moonchu Foundation)

A carte de visite produced by Pun Lun - one of the Hong Kong photographic studios in the laste 19th century
(Collection of Moonchu Foundation)

A stereoscopic photograph produced in 1897 illustrating Li Hung Chang, the Minister of Beiyang representing the Qing court attending the Coronation Ceremony of Czar Nicolas II in Moscow in 1896.
(Collection of Moonchu Foundation)

18/12/2013 – 21/04/2014

Admission Fee:
(including "The Hong Kong Story" permanent exhibition)

Concession:HK$10 (for people with disabilities (and one accompanying minder), full time students and senior citizens aged 60 or above)  
Group (20 persons or above):HK$14
Holders of Museum Pass enjoy free admission

*On Wednesdays:
Concession:HK$5 (for people with disabilities (and one accompanying minder), full time students and senior citizens aged 60 or above)  
Group (20 persons or above):HK$7
Holders of Museum Pass enjoy free admission

Closed on Tuesdays (except public holidays) and on the first two days of the Chinese New Year

Presented by
Leisure and Cultural Services Department 

Organised by
Hong Kong Museum of History

Supported by
Moonchu Foundation


The Aftermath of the First Sino-Japanese War: The Lease of the New Territories and Weihaiwei

The First Sino-Japanese War that broke out between 1894 and 1895 was a turning point in the modern history of China: it marked the failure of the
Self-Strengthening Movement, the three decades of modernising efforts undertaken by the Qing government to introduce advanced Western military technology to China; the international political order in East Asia was turned upside down by the Japanese defeat of the Qing empire, which had long considered itself ‘the central kingdom', while in its aftermath it triggered a scramble among the major powers to carve out concessions for themselves; and Japan's militarism received an enormous boost. At the same time, the voices calling for China to be saved grew ever more strident at home, with feelings of nationalism reaching unprecedented levels and spurring revolutionary efforts towards their inevitable climax: within less than twenty years of the war, the Qing dynasty had been toppled in the revolutionary campaign led by Dr Sun Yat-sen.

To mark the 120th anniversary of the First
Sino-Japanese War in 2014, the Hong Kong Museum of History is hosting this exhibition to explore the context in which the New Territories and also Weihaiwei in Shandong were leased to Britain in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Based on extensive material drawn from the Collection of Sir James Stewart Lockhart held by the National Library of Scotland, it provides an insight into how Britain implemented its governing policies in the leased lands as a means to strengthen its political and business interests in China. Viewers will also learn about the unique social settings of the New Territories and Weihaiwei in this era at the turn of the last century and gain a perspective on how the two locations, despite being thousands of miles apart, were connected through the British official known simply as Stewart Lockhart.

Public Guided Tour Schedule


Map sent by Hong Kong Colonial Secretary Sir Wilfrid Thomas Southorn to Lockhart in 1929, informing him that a road on the new Praya East Reclamation had been named after him.
Courtesy of the National Library of Scotland

Letter of gratitude sent by the Sanitary Bureau, Department of Home Affairs, Japan, to Lockhart in 1894, thanking the latter in helping the Japanese microbiologist Kitasato Shibasaburo in investigating the plague in Hong Kong.
Courtesy of the National Library of Scotland

Letter from Kang Yu-wei to Colonial Secretary Lockhart during his refuge in 1898, thanking the latter in offering him protection in Hong Kong.
Courtesy of the National Library of Scotland

The Situation in the Far East, a cartoon by Tse Tsan-tai from Hong Kong in 1899, vividly depicting the spheres of influence of the major powers that prevailed in China.
Courtesy of the National Library of Scotland

Complimentary address written by Kong Lingyi (Kung Ling-i), Duke of Yansheng and the 76th-generation heir of Confucius, to Lockhart in 1903, thanking the latter in paying visit to the Temple of Confucius.
Courtesy of the National Library of Scotland

Complimentary tablet with the words ‘ke yi liao ji' (curing people of hunger) presented by Lockhart to Tung Wah Hospital in Hong Kong in 1920, thanking the relief support of the latter towards the famine victims in Weihaiwei.
Courtesy of Tung Wah Museum

9/4 – 9/6/2014

Free Admission

1/F Lobby, Hong Kong Museum of History

Presented by Leisure and Cultural Services Department
In collaboration with National Library of Scotland
Organised by Hong Kong Museum of History