Sunday, March 4, 2012

The History Museum of Hong Kong

Much of Saturday was spent at the history museum of Hong Kong which I definitely recommend to travelers who don't mind spending a lot of time at a museum. If there is one word I'd use to describe the museum it would be comprehensive. Going back to ancient history, the museum covered practically everything that happened in Hong Kong. I guess that this is an easier feat than some other countries, but I was still astonished at how deep the museum got. In the ancient history section, there were dioramas and videos showing the geographical formation of the island. It moved on to describing the plants, animals and early peoples that inhabited prehistoric Hong Kong. The next exhibits were focused on the early Chinese peoples that lived on the island before the colonial period and had displays focusing on their culture and their way of life. One of the groups spent their entire lives on boats, only coming to shore to sell their products to land-dwellers. I remember something similar about a certain people in the SE Pacific doing the same... it must be a completely different than what we know. As we finished wandering around the first floor, we realized there was an entire floor that we hadn't even begun to explore. This floor focused on the colonization period, and included videos and bundles of information about life under colonial times. The information truly was exhausted, with whole sections of the museum devoted to, for example, the post system under colonial rule complete with replicas and examples. Information about the city continued all the way up to the transfer of sovereignty from the British to the Chinese in 1997. Although nothing can change politically in Hong Kong for fifty years, it is now officially part of China. By the time we got to the second floor, we were running out of time and just skimming displays and exhibits that looked interesting. I would guess I only read about 20% of the words in that museum, and we were there for three hours. Time ran out, however, and the museum closed. If I lived in Hong Kong I wouldn't mind spending an entire lazy Saturday reading about this fascinating city.

Wedding preparation diorama

Pillars of buns for the Cheung Chau Bun Festival


A early 20th century convenience store

Japanese propaganda

Diner replica

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