The Hong Kong Museum of History
Even amidst the futuristic sights and sounds of Hong Kong, its ancient past can still resonate. Most modern cities possess this contradiction - of a rich history that contrasts her modern times. Hong Kong is no exception. And its artefacts are preserved perfectly at the Hong Kong Museum of History.
And yes, the museum itself is a contradiction. To document and preserve Hong Kong's history and cultural heritage, there are a plethora of vigilantly selected artefacts, shown along interactive videos and computers. A curious mix of technology and ancient human history. Yet the curiosity doesn't stop with its human history. There is even a preliminary exhibition demonstrating the geological formation and the development of natural life across the Hong Kong harbor, some 400 million years ago. In vast interactive rooms, visitors can become privy to the previous residents of Hong Kong - her tigers and black bears along with exhibits of primordial Chinese human beings.
Moving ahead, there are vast collections of earthenware, jewellery and other objects that all give an idea of the first civilization of Hong Kong established around 2000 B.C. If that isn't enough, there are vibrant recreations of daily Chinese life exhibited along with life in the Ming and Qing dynasties that give details of the mass resettlements to Hong Kong.
Yet most of the museum is dedicated to Hong Kong's recent British colonial period. A sense of realism and nostalgia is overwhelming in these recreations. The museum has created street scenes like theatre designs. Yet here, the audience can walk through these detailed exhibits and wholly experience all the sensations of the period. Everything just to allow the visitor a good sense of times past, to just look back in time. And what better way is there, to look back into time, than a photograph? Yes, the museum has its own share of century-old photographs of Hong Kong street life.
There are even exhibits of the tragedies of Hong Kong - both man-made and natural disasters. There are details of the Opium Wars, Sun Yat-Sen's policies and even the Japanese occupation, complete with an air raid shelter with sound effects.
Yet what is the history of Hong Kong without her ultramodern skyscrapers and her leap into modern times? Yes, there are film clips detailing this too.
The entire essence of Hong Kong's modernism has given her past so much value. Thus, the museum is really worth the visit. Almost everything that is Hong Kong, as far back as human imagination can go, has its traces in this museum. It will fascinate visitors with its rich history and innovative methods, even as its smallest ancient object seems to say: ‘that you have come a long way.'
And how do you get there? The subway system would be the most convenient way to get to the museum. You can take the MTR to Tsim Sha Tsui. Take exit B2 and walk down Cameron Road. Or there is the Star Ferry from the Central district after which you can then board the bus. The museum is at 100, Chatham Road South, adjacent to the Hong Kong Science Museum.