Under the management of the Leisure and Cultural
Services Department, museums acquire, conserve, research on, exhibit
and communicate for the purposes of study, education and enjoyment,
material evidence of people and their environment. Museum collections
form a composite picture of our cultural, historical and natural
heritage, and the preservation of such collections represents
a long-term commitment to existing and future generations. The
following roles are performed:
To present and sponsor exhibitions on the
visual arts, history, culture, archaeology, and science and
technology for the enjoyment of the public;
To promote an interest in and better understanding
of the visual arts, science technology and the history and
culture of Hong Kong through a balanced range of museum educational
activities and sharing of experience with local artists, scholars
and experts in the fields;
To support and promote contemporary Hong
Kong art and encourage artistic creativity;
To support research on local heritage, history and the visual arts;
To provide and operate venues for hire
for the presentation of exhibitions, lectures and film shows
and studio facilities for artistic creation;
To acquire and conserve local films and
related materials and provide facilities for film research
and educational activities for film appreciation.
Museums have different characteristics and objectives.
They are professionally managed to provide the ideal environment
for the conservation and display of collections. Large-scale thematic
exhibitions are held every year to add variety to the permanent
exhibitions with the ultimate goal to attract more people to visit
museums. Extension activities such as lectures, classes, film shows,
guided tours, demonstrations, workshops and travelling exhibitions
are organized to stimulate interest and popularize museum services.
Some of the facilities in museums are open for public hiring.
Of the seven major museums, the Hong Kong Museum of
Art plays an important role in preserving the cultural heritage of China
and promoting art with a local focus. The Hong Kong Science Museum,
with its predominantly interactive exhibits, illustrates various scientific
principles and the ways technology is used to improve the quality of life. The
Hong Kong Space Museum serves to popularize astronomy and
space science. The Hong
Kong Heritage Museum features a variety of specially designed exhibition
possibilities to cover different aspects of history, the arts and culture. The
Hong Kong Museum of
History collects, conserves, processes, studies and displays cultural
objects which are closely related to the archaeology, history, ethnography and
natural history of Hong Kong and the South China area. The Hong
Kong Museum of Coastal Defence features Hong Kong's coastal defence
history in the past 600 years. The Dr
Sun Yat-sen Museum gives a comprehensive overview of the life and career
of Dr Sun, and Hong Kong's vital role in the reform movements and revolutionary
activities in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The Department also manages seven smaller museums and two heritage centres.
The museums include the Flagstaff House Museum of Teaware which is the only subject
museum devoted to the promotion of Chinese tea drinking culture; the Lei Cheng Uk Han Tomb Museum which displays its tomb finds
and exhibitions on the Han dynasty life styles and history; the Law Uk Folk Museum, the Sheung Yiu Folk Museum as well as the Sam Tung Uk Museum, which house exhibitions on the history
and restoration of old Hakka village houses reflecting Chinese folk life and
customs; and the open-air Hong Kong Railway Museum which encompasses the old Tai
Po Market Railway Station with historical railway carriages, a steam locomotive
and a diesel electric locomotive and the Fireboat
Alexander Grantham Exhibition Gallery which endured witness to the history
of Hong Kong's sea rescue services. The two heritage centres include the Hong
Kong Heritage Discovery Centre which displays Hong Kong's cultural heritage;
and the Ping
Shan Tang Clan Gallery cum Heritage Trail Visitors Centre displays various
relics, history, customs and cultural life belonging to the members of the Tang
The Hong Kong Film Archive's major functions are to acquire, preserve,
catalogue and document Hong Kong films and related materials.
It also organizes film programmes, present schematic exhibitions
and publishes books and publications related to Hong Kong cinema.
Promotion Office (APO) aims to promote local visual arts
through wide-ranging activities focusing on public and community
art. The Office places great importance in undertaking projects
with different partners, which help to further enhance art appreciation
and participation among members of the public. The Hong Kong Visual
Arts Centre is under the management of the APO. It provides well-equipped
studios for trained artists practising in the fields of sculpture,
printmaking and ceramics, facilitating them in their artistic creation
in holding different kinds of visual arts activities.
Operating from 13 purpose-equipped conservation laboratories,
the Conservation Office
devises, implements and evaluates conservation programmes
for museum artifacts and heritage objects. The Section also provides
technical assistance and advice on the preservation requirements
of collection items and loan exhibits for the public museums.
The Antiquities and Monuments Office
is responsible for conserving places of historic interest, searches
for, identifies and records a wide range of items. Among these
are historical buildings of Chinese and Western types, historical
stones (e.g. boundary or foundation stones), archaeological sites,
forts, tombs and graves, bridges, rock carvings and inscriptions,
and even old street furniture (e.g. old lamp posts or letter boxes).
All over Hong Kong, there are relics of human activity
spanning some 6,000 years. Historical buildings, sites and ancient
structures may be protected legally under the Antiquities and Monuments
Ordinance or by administrative measures in addition to the publicity
and promotion of heritage education and preservation.
The Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre occupies the historic Blocks S61 and S62 of the former
Whitfield Barracks at Kowloon Park. It is committed to presenting and explaining the conservation work to the wider public to enhance their understanding and enjoyment and the value they
place on the shared heritage. A standing exhibition on Hong Kong's cultural heritage will be open in 2009.