18 September 2008

On the first day in Hong Kong, I went to the Hong Kong Museum of History. This museum instantly became one of my favourite museums (others being for example the Tate Modern in London). I did not exactly know what to expect, but I have learned that that is usually the best. Sometimes I go visit a museum with big expectations, or just the wrong expectations, and then your experience will usually be a disappointment. But in the case of the Museum of History, everything added up to a great museum experience.

The museum had done a great job in combining all kinds of history into one. It started with the geological features and history of the Hong Kong area. How the different layers in the earth came to be, what effect the ice age had, how the different islands and mountains came to be; everything complemented with the estimated years when it occurred, usually going into the millions of years ago. Of course I don’t know anything about geology, but the fact that the rock we’re sitting on hides an enormous history under its surface is of course amazing to a simple history student.

Anyway, after the geological history of rocks, the next hall in the museum was dedicated to natural history! Suddenly you walk in a small jungle with animals and plants, typical for the region through time. I was just too happy and walked around without reading all the info signs; maybe next time. With the third room you finally enter human history, but it’s still pre-history so no written records. There are mannequins of how the humans a few tens of thousands of years ago probably looked like. The museum explains the discipline of archaeology, a history of archaeological excavations in Hong Kong, and the donor collections of (amateur) archaeologists.

Now we race through the dynasties from Han to Qing and the place of Hong Kong in this history. So only in fourth section did the museum enter my field of study, namely history based on written works. But after the geological, natural, archaeological, and ‘ordinary’ history, it still continues! Now it is time for the people itself: anthropology. It turns out that we can distinguish four kinds of people in Hong Kong. The Boat Dwellers who fish, the rich Punti, the Hoklo who cultivate rice, and the […]. Other cultural riches are shown, such as Chinese opera, theatre, rituals for marriage and birth, etc. Next floor: Opium war, English rule, grow of the city, Japanese occupation, modernisation, and it all finishes with the return to China. All accompanied by pictures, posters, movies, buildings with period rooms, etc. Wow…

So, everyone who visits Hong Kong, go to the Museum of History! But if you plan to visit multiple museums in Hong Kong, go to this one last, to keep your expectations for the other museums low. This museum reaches a high level, making the other museums look, well, less impressive.


Iam said...

hello...am simsim,
I like museum too, until now I think the best one is Singapore Museum....would like to visit thig museum in Hongkong.
How much is the cost to get in the museum? Please advice.


Post a Comment