on March 18, 2006
The Hong Kong Heritage Museum has been open for 5 years, and I had never visited it. I pictured some small second-rate place with amateurish exhibits. I could not have been more mistaken. If there is one museum in Hong Kong you should make a special effort to visit, it’s this one. I love the History Museum and kids love the Science Museum, but for really getting a sense of what created and maintains Hong Kong’s culture, this is the place to see.It is a professional, impressive complete museum with 12 exhibit halls, including a Cantonese Opera Theater, a Children's Discovery Area, three or four outstanding permanent exhibits (including two collections of Chinese Art), and an exhibition covering the rise and fall in popularity of Cantonese opera. In addition, the museum usually features at least one unique special exhibit, like the current one on the Silk Road, plus other smaller temporary exhibits, such as the one we saw of four artists’ perceptions of Hong Kong.The setting is bucolic and easy to access by train. The exterior of building, rendered in a somewhat traditional Chinese style, is not that attractive, though many architects might disagree with me. The 28, 500 square meter interior is impressive, though, with a huge open center five stories high, with the galleries and exhibition halls around the periphery. We spent most of our time in the Special Exhibit on the Silk Road and in the Cantonese Opera Exhibit, which is a piece of Hong Kong I have totally missed. The two Chinese Art galleries, one contemporary and one traditional, are interesting but not compelling, unless you are more knowledgeable than I am. One of the more interesting exhibits covers the history of the New Territories, and while it duplicates some of the information in the History Museum, it certainly illustrates how vital the area was for thousands of years before the British arrived. For someone unfamiliar with the history of Hong Kong, I think it would be quite an eye-opener.We also stopped at the very attractive tea house for a break. It serves many different types of Chinese tea. I wish I knew enough to order something other than my usual Jasmine tea. There is also a café and a gift shop on the premises.To get to the museum, take the KCRC East Rail train to either Tai Wai or Sha Tin and plan on a 15- to 20-minute walk. The walk from Sha Tin Station takes you through a very nice park along the river. Alternatively, you can change on to the Ma On Shan Rail train and alight at the Che Kung Temple Station, which is a mere 5-minute walk from the museum. There is also bus service. It’s open Wednesday through Monday.Ticket prices vary. There are the usual concessions. You can check for the latest information at the museum website. Photography is allowed, with some exceptions.
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