Tung Wah Museum was originally the Main Hall Building of Kwong Wah Hospital, the first hospital founded in Kowloon and the New Territories to provide medical services for the public.
Kwong Wah Hospital opened in 1911 as the Kowloon branch of Tung Wah Hospital, the directors of which had initiated the foundation of the new hospital in collaboration with community leaders in Kowloon. Tung Wah Hospital, Kwong Wah Hospital and Tung Wah Eastern Hospital were later amalgamated into the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals (TWGHs) in 1931. In 1958, Kwong Wah Hospital underwent a complete reconstruction, and only the Main Hall Building was preserved. In 1970, the centenary of the TWGHs, the Main Hall Building was converted into the Tung Wah Museum to display historical relics and house the invaluable archives of the TWGHs. The museum was officially inaugurated by Sir Kwan Cho Yiu in a ceremony on 15 January 1971, and it has been open to the public since 1993.
The museum is characterised by a combination of Chinese and Western architectural features. The Chinese features are clearly demonstrated by the decorations on the front elevation and are highlighted by the ancestral hall setting. The floral and auspicious motifs on the eaves board as well as the truss system and camel’s humps along the veranda all feature exquisite wood carvings. The pitched roof is laid with green glazed tiles; the ridge was reconstructed in 1991 in imitation of the original built in 1910.
The Western architectural elements can mainly be found on the side and rear elevations of the building, where bull’s-eye windows and segmental arched windows with keystones dominate. Inside the main hall, the four arched doorways leading to the exhibition rooms are designed with Western-style fanlights. While the roof of the main hall is supported by a traditional Chinese truss system and purlins, queen post trusses are found in the side chambers.