Beyond Arts Month: appreciating museums in Hong Kong

The start of April marks the end of the annual Arts Month of Hong Kong. After all those featured exhibitions and festivals, does Hong Kong offer citizens any other means to appreciate arts? Visiting museums in the eyes of general Hong Kong people can be regarded as a mere educational activity but it is actually more than that.

In 2017, Hong Kong broke a record of 6.9 million in the number of visitors to Hong Kong’s museums. The number is more than double of that in 2016, indicating more than a doubled number of people are visiting Hong Kong’s museums in that year. Speaking of the most popular exhibition last year: “Eternal Life – Exploring Ancient Egypt”, there have been over 850,000 people visiting Science Museum during the exhibition period from June to October 2017

One of the Permanent Exhibition introducing the development of Ping Shan in Ping Shan Tang Clan Gallery. Photo by Iris Wong.

Behind such dramatic a rise of museum visitors lies the change in policies regarding the admission of museums in Hong Kong. Starting from Aug 2016, designated museums under the Leisure and Cultural Department has offered free admission to permanent exhibitions. They are the Hong Kong Museum of History, the Hong Kong Heritage Museum, the Hong Kong Museum of Art, the Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence and the Dr Sun Yat-sen Museum. Some other museums such as Hong Kong Science Museums has also lowered their ticket price.

Ms Haskins, a retired Hong Kong residents who lives in Tsim Sha Tsui has a more than welcome response to such arrangement. “Even if I am not planning to visit a museum when I encounter it in the city, I am very much likely to enter it out of curiosity and the free admission,” said Haskins.

A wall about Han Dynasty outside Lei Cheng Uk Han Tomb Museum. Photo by Iris Wong.

Apart from the few well-known museums run by the government, there are still some museums, with less public attention drawn, that are all very worthwhile for visiting in terms of their uniqueness.

1. Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre

A museum about Hong Kong’s heritage is located inside Kowloon Park, which is highly accessible and entertaining. Photo by Iris Wong.

2. Lei Cheng Uk Han Tomb Museum

This branch museum of the Hong Kong Museum of History is built with the original complete Han Tomb located in Cheung Sha Wan. Photo by Iris Wong.

3. Ping Shan Tang Clan Gallery cum Heritage Trail Visitors Centre

Visitors can walk along the heritage trail nearby in Ping Shan to make a visit to the Gallery. Photo by Iris Wong.

4. City Gallery

Located in Central, City Gallery allows visitors o explore the arts of urban planning in Hong Kong. Photo by Iris Wong.

Not only are these museums special, they are also free and open to the public. Even the National Geographic has suggested their readers to give free museums in Hong Kong a try. Let us all make very good use of these resources to learn with fun.

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