Hong Kong Maritime Museum (香港海事博物館) is a non-profit educational institution funded by the international shipping community and the government in Hong Kong. The Museum opened in September 2005 at Murray House in Stanley and relocated in 2013 to Pier 8, in the heart of the Central Harbour Waterfront. Today the Museum attracts 100,000 visitors annually where across 4,400 square metres more than 1,200 objects are displayed in 13 galleries on three levels. All of which uniquely overlooks a bustling Victoria Harbour.
The Hong Kong Maritime Museum (HKMM) is a vibrant, cultural institution dedicated to preserving, collecting and displaying objects that tell the story about trade and maritime in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta. Conveniently located on the picturesque Victoria Harbour at Central Pier No. 8, HKMM opened in 2005. A non-profit registered charity, HKMM is supported by the shipping industry, the business community, private individuals and the Hong Kong SAR Government. HKMM houses 15 galleries including a venue space for special exhibitions and events, a resource centre, a roof-top café, and a gift shop. HKMM promotes Hong Kong, China and Asia’s maritime history and heritage as well as the vital role that ships and the sea play in our past, present and future. It also offers visitors a variety of public programmes including guided tours, workshops, public talks, and school, community and family activities.
The museum illustrates how China, Asia and the West have contributed through the ages to the development of boats, ships, maritime exploration and trade, and naval warfare. While concentrating on the South China coast and its adjacent seas, it also covers global trends and provides a comprehensive account of Hong Kong’s growth and development as a major world port and maritime centre.
The museum includes semi-permanent and special exhibitions, interactive displays, educational events, café and a museum shop. A special exhibition and events space, resource centre, roof-top café and gift shop augment visitors’ experience and patrons and the community of Hong Kong actively engage in education and public programming offered for schools, community groups and families.
The beautiful ceramics of the great China Trade, so coveted by consumers in western countries, became perhaps the most important of the trades between China and the West.
Ships, so essential for transporting goods and people, have been built in vast numbers and in many designs since ancient times. Constructed according to the availability of local materials and designed to fit local needs, these ships – had they all been preserved – could have provided so much information about the evolution of shipbuilding and maritime trading.
From the moment that vessels first set sail, mariners searched for ways to plot the shortest course to their destination and to predict conditions at sea. The Museum’s collection of navigational instruments tracks the gradual advance in equipment to determine location, direction and weather conditions.
The application of pigment to a surface has long been the way for artists to express themselves, giving a contemporary account of the times they live in, communicating ideas, recording scenes or simply conveying something beautiful.
The Alexander Hume Painting
This giant panoramic scene (gouache on silk, 91.5cm height, 276.5cm width), is thought to have been created in a Canton studio. Made specifically for the European market, it shows a western naturalistic landscape style mounted in the traditional Chinese hand-scroll format. This classical piece of Sino-Western fusion illustrates the starting point of the Canton trade system 250 years ago.Silk painting also highlighted the rapid development of Chinese silk trade at that time.
Photography is a vital source of historical information and the view through a camera lens adds true details to people, fashions, scenes and objects in a way that an artist, however talented, cannot. The history of Hong Kong, from tiny trading post to international maritime centre with its famous skyline, is well documented in photographs.
KM Koo Ship Bridge Simulator
This new facility is located on A-deck of the Museum, which has been officially launched on 29 April 2016. It allows visitors to steer a variety of ships including container barge, high-speed boat or even the famous historic Star Ferry, and learn the various roles of seafarers in the simulator to experience an immersive and authentic ‘sea journey’ through Hong Kong waters and the Victoria Harbour waterfront!
Robert Y.T. Chen Gallery – Traditional Maritime China
The Robert Y.T. Chen Gallery presents the maritime world of traditional China, tracing the roots of its famous and distinctive sailing junk`s hull and rig from the earliest days of rafts, dugouts and coracles.
The D L Wu Keying Display – The Pioneering Voyage of the Keying
The extraordinary model of the Keying, which the Museum is lucky enough to have on view in this display, was built on a scale of 1 to 12. The three-masted Chinese trading junk, built of teak, was the first junk to sail around the Cape of Good Hope.
Pacific Basin Shipping Gallery – Sea Bandits
Piracy is a very serious issue for seafarers and shipowners today, and it was a scourge for centuries around the China seas.
T Y Chao Gallery – Creating Victoria Harbour
The T Y Chao Gallery celebrates Hong Kong’s development as a port from 1841 until just after the ending of the Japanese occupation and reoccupation by the British in the 1945.
Swire Gallery – Hong Kong Ships and Shipyards
The first section of the Swire Gallery documents the growth and success of Hong Kong`s port, emphasizing how appropriate it is for the Hong Kong Maritime Museum to be on the waterfront.
K H and K W Koo Gallery – China’s First Maritime Modernization
This gallery`s main focus is on the challenge of securing the safety of seafarers at sea, recounting how today`s measures evolved through events in China and contributions made by historical figures such as Li Hong Zhang.
Swire Gallery – Making of a Modern Port
This second section of the Swire Gallery describes the modernization of Hong Kong`s port in the last 60 years, when changes in China`s political focus turned it into the core hub of the region and modernization in the shipping industry triggered huge expansion.
C.C. Liu Gallery – Carrying People
This first section of the Parakou Gallery relates to moving people rather than cargoes.
C. C. Liu Gallery – Fun on the Water
The second section of the Parakou Gallery focuses on water sports around Hong Kong and fun: fun on the water, fun in the water and under it.
Sir Yue-Kong Pao Gallery – The Underwater World
The Sir Yue-Kong Pao Gallery explores the ocean: a rich, fragile, contested and still little understood part of the Earth.
The COSCO Gallery – Sounds of the Sea
The crash of waves, the suck and roar of the backwash, the clang of a lighter’s derricks, the rhythmic thump of a big ship’s engine, the swishing of a propeller, the whine, whistle and roar of wind in the rigging – all seafarers will be familiar with these sounds of the sea.
The COSCO Gallery – People of the Sea
The second section of the COSCO Gallery explains how the maritime industry evolved from local family businesses to global enterprises. It traces the history of Chinese trade associations from guilds to large groups, such as the Hong Kong Shipowners Association (HKSOA) which, in addition to shipowners, includes Hong Kong resident firms who service the industry – such as ship operators, shipmanagers, shipbrokers, insurers, financiers and lawyers – in its membership.
KC Maritime Gallery – Maritime Communications
For those of us on land, communications have long been a matter of picking up a telephone. Until very recently it has been anything but as simple for a seafarer, who went to sea knowing that there would be no contact with family and friends for the duration of a voyage. However, a ship had to make contact with other ships and land somehow, whether to send or receive danger signals, ask for advice or keep abreast of the news. The K C Maritime Gallery illustrates just how ingenious mankind could be.
Frank Tsao Gallery – Navigation and Meteorology
The navigation bridge is the eyes and brain of a ship. The Frank Tsao Gallery presents early and basic methods of navigation, explaining how they worked, how a ship steered and how distances were logged. China’s pioneering invention of the compass is a highlight in this gallery and the history of navigation is traced through to the modern, computer-based integrated bridge systems of today.
Hongkong International Terminals Gallery – Harbour Viewing Gallery
This gallery presents the museum’s dynamic real time display: Victoria Harbour Live. Hong Kong, the vibrant, bustling harbour that is so prominent today, has a behind-the-scenes story of evolution that visitors will be able to experience through specially fitted binoculars. Go back in time to 1846, for example, to the spot on HMS Iris where Lieutenant Heath stood to draw the panorama of Hong Kong or to 1841, when the harbour was 50 per cent bigger than it is today.
Ocean Line Holdings Gallery -The Companionways
As with all ocean going vessels, long passages —or companionways —zigzag through the museum. While on board ship a companionway may link the bridge to nearby staff quarters, in the case of the museum,display galleries are connected to support are as including the library and research offices.
Special Exhibitions & Events Gallery
The Hong Kong Maritime Museum’s Special Exhibitions and Events Gallery has been the site of hundreds of public and private exhibitions, lectures, international conferences, concerts, product launches, parties and performances since re-opening at Pier 8. Conveniently located at the Central Harbour Waterfront, the venue overlooks Victoria Harbour against the backdrop of the Hong Kong skyline
Hong Kong Maritime Museum’s mission is to promote a greater knowledge of Hong Kong, China and Asia’s maritime history and the vital role that ships and the sea play in our past, present and future. We do this by providing the community and visitors with an exceptional museum experience and opportunities to learn about Hong Kong’s heritage and how it links with the rest of the world.
Hong Kong Maritime Museum’s is to be the Hong Kong community-based centre of excellence for exploring local and regional maritime and shipping issues.