Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Hong Kong Heritage Museum

As the weather continues to be hot and steamy in Hong Kong, our favorite destination besides the pool is an air-conditioned museum. We have long meant to get to the Hong Kong Heritage Museum and a recent humid Saturday gave us the motivation we needed to do just that. Hong Kong museums are scattered all around but this was our farthest flung museum to date. The Heritage Museum is located in Sha Tin, a city in Hong Kong’s New Territories, the part of Hong Kong that is connected to mainland China. We drove through the Aberdeen Tunnel (a mountain tunnel), through the cross-harbor tunnel and finally through Lion Rock Tunnel (a mountain tunnel) to arrive at the museum. Once there, we were all awed by the big beautiful museum building, but also by how far we had come and by the fact that we did not once get lost.

Once cool, we quickly zoomed in on the museum’s Ancient Olympics exhibit on loan from the British Museum. Because of the long standing relationship between Britain and Hong Kong, some of the great exhibits we see here are on loan from the British museums. We wandered around learning about the Olympics (for men only) and Hera’s Olympics which involved a running race for women. The link between sport and a religious experience was strongly supported and reminded me of our kids climbing through thick jungle hillsides right outside our little chapel in Stanley. They always return to us hot, dirty and a little awed by how adventurous they really were.

In addition to the loaned exhibits, the museum did have a number of China and even Hong Kong centered galleries. One Hong Kong gallery focused on the long standing jewelry industry here. Another Hong Kong exhibit showcased the art of Lo Koon Chui and his children’s comic book “Children’s Paradise,” which was first published in Hong Kong in 1953. All of his art showed lively, lovely children doing every day things. We saw a painting of little girls skipping with a rubber band jump rope, something my little girls have done here too. It is clear there was a social message regarding moral behavior there but it was lost on us. We just saw the paintings and enjoyed them.

As we were lulled into a very Western museum experience, Tori reminded us that we were in a foreign country. Tori asked if the comic book “Children’s Paradise” was still being published today. The museum staff in the room could not understand her question but kindly called for additional support. Other staff came over and we could still not get to the bottom of it. Again they kindly called head office staff over. We still could not answer the question but not for lack of trying. Eventually, we did find out from a cashier in the gift shop that the publication stopped in 1984. Our answer seemed to reflect the divide between the esoteric and the commercial but by the time we finally got our answer we were too tired to ponder further.


Blogger alberta1 said...

Wonderful job, the places you are going the history your are learning what a wonderful time in your family's life.

12:35 PM  

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