How the Hong Kong Palace Museum forges its own identity | Smart Messages

The new Hong Kong Palace Museum
© Hong Kong Palace Museum

After a rocky start and, more recently, a delay caused by a typhoon, the new Hong Kong Palace Museum – a branch of Beijing’s Palace Museum – has now opened in the semi-autonomous city’s West Kowloon Cultural District.

Visitors to the $450 million facility, which opened on July 3, can now view 914 artifacts from the approximately 1.86 million works in the Palace Museum’s collection, many of which are on public display for the first time.

The Hong Kong exhibition, which includes ceramics, jade, bronze, costumes, jewelry, paintings, calligraphy and other national treasures, is reportedly the largest loan from the Beijing institution since it became a museum in 1925 Artnetis Vivienne Chow.


One of the galleries in the new Hong Kong Palace Museum

Courtesy of Visual Voices / Hong Kong Tourism Board

The new seven-story Hong Kong outpost features 84,000 square feet of exhibition space spread across nine galleries, each with its own theme, such as life, architecture, design and art in the Forbidden City, home of the Beijing Museum.

Though the two institutions are linked, the Hong Kong museum is establishing its own identity by including multimedia works by six local contemporary artists in its inaugural exhibition. The museum also aims to attract young people and establish a global connection with Chinese culture, Chow told the art newspaper in 2021.

“Hong Kong artists have a very different perspective on history and historical artworks,” says GayBird, a Hong Kong artist and musician whose work is on display at the museum Artnet. “Our work can show local audiences that we can look at things from different perspectives.”

When Hong Kong officials first unveiled plans for the new museum in late 2016, SAR residents and leaders initially protested the project, criticizing the lack of community involvement.

Gallery in the museum

Inside the new Hong Kong Palace Museum

Courtesy of Visual Voices / Hong Kong Tourism Board

The museum was meant to be a gift from the central government to mark the 25th anniversary of Britain handing control of Hong Kong to China, report CNN’s Stephy Chung and Kristie Lu Stout. But the project wasn’t part of the original plans for the city’s West Kowloon Cultural District; Outgoing Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam made an unexpected announcement, leading some critics to believe that secret political deals were afoot behind the scenes.

“There was no consultation at all,” Lee Cheuk-yan, a Hong Kong politician, told BBC News’ Juliana Liu in 2017. “It seems to be a dictate from China ordering Hong Kong to accept this museum without a consultation.” “

But since the opening at the weekend, the facility has already proven to be a popular destination. Visitors bought more than 115,000 tickets for the month of July per artnet, and some early museum visitors expressed their enthusiasm by wearing Han Dynasty-style costumes.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re a historian or a driver,” Daisy Wang Yiyou, the museum’s deputy director, told CNN. “You [can] relate to these fantastic treasures and the stories we tell. You can be emotionally touched by the objects.”

Comments are closed.