If you’re in Hong Kong and feel like taking a break from the eat-shop-eat-shop-eat-eat-sleep pattern, the Hong Kong Museum of History [hk.history.museum] is a great way to escape – although the food at the cafeteria was still pretty darn good compared to what you get at most museums!
Located in the Tsim Sha Tsui part of town [maps.google.ca] it’s actually kind of difficult to get to by the MTR subway system. On a nice day it is walkable from Kowloon, or you can take the MTR to the Hung Hom station and wander through the Hong Kong Technical College.
If you follow the prescribed museum path you start with dioramas of prehistoric Hong Kong and then move on to Hong Kong from the Han to the Qin dynasties. These areas are fairly interesting but if your time is limited you should rush through these and move on to the 20th century exhibits which are much more rich and detailed. There is a large section dedicated to the opium wars and the Treaty of Nanking which ceded Kong Kong to Britain until 1997. There is also a section dedicated to war time Hong Kong that includes the desk on which the Japanses signed papers reverting control of Hong Kong back to the British after occupation.
Later, almost a whole floor is dedicated to recreations of general stores, pawn shops, clothing factories, and snack shops from the turn of the century through to the 60’s and 70’s. I wandered through these exhibits imagining my parents in each scene, such as these stools that were typically found outside stalls where kids could rent comic books and read on the street.
Finally, after showing the great strides made by Hng Kong under British rule, you are taken through the handover of Hong Kong back to China. The following photo shows the Colonial Flag of Hong Kong and a uniform worn by Hong Kong’s last British Governor, Chris Patten.
Anyone interested in learning a little more about how Hong Kong evolved could do a quick pass through the museum in half a day, but I would recommend the better part of a day for those who really want to soak everything in.
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