There’s a museum in Hong Kong to suit just about every interest – from art and science to tea and boats. You can also get some fascinating insights into the city, and (importantly!) keep the kids entertained. Here’s some more good news: many of the museums have free entry on Wednesdays, or you can get an annual pass. And museums are great for beating the heat or escaping the rain when the elements get a bit too extreme.
#1 Hong Kong Palace Museum
The Hong Kong Palace Museum (HKPM) in West Kowloon Cultural District opened its doors in July 2022 after five years in the making. The impressive seven-story building is a replica of Beijing’s Palace Museum located in the Forbidden City and houses over 900 works of art from there, across 13,000 square metres and nine galleries. You’ll find Chinese paintings and poems, calligraphy works, household objects and even clothes and utensils used by ruling emperors. There are also indoor and outdoor public spaces, a museum shop, restaurants, an auditorium and activity rooms.
West Kowloon Cultural District, 8 Museum Drive, Kowloon
Photo: Kevin Mak, courtesy of Herzog & de Meuron
This bold new museum is dedicated to collecting, exhibiting and interpreting visual art, design and architecture, moving image, and Hong Kong visual culture of the 20th and 21st centuries. Located in the West Kowloon Cultural District, M+ is one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary visual culture in the world.
West Kowloon Cultural District, 38 Museum Drive, Kowloon.
#3 Hong Kong Heritage Museum
Located in Sha Tin, this museum houses a comprehensive collection divided into 12 exhibition galleries, with relics giving insights into the history and culture of Hong Kong and the South China region. It’s home to a special Bruce Lee exhibition too.
#4 Hong Kong Museum of History
This huge facility offers a comprehensive guide to the history of the city. It covers the archaeology, history, enthnography and natural history of the area, with visually interesting displays that even the youngest museum-goers will be engaged by.
#5 Hong Kong Maritime Museum
In its fitting location at Central’s Pier 8, this museum showcases the city’s seafaring history. It looks at the development of various boats and ships, as well as the importance of shipping to Hong Kong’s economy. Interactive displays make it a good family outing.
#6 Hong Kong Science Museum
This is one of the better museums for kids, as more than 70 percent of the 500 exhibits are hands-on and interactive. Young visitors will love the robotics, virtual reality and transportation displays. Look out for the 22m high twin-tower Energy Machine.
#7 Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware
Located in the grounds of Hong Kong Park, Flagstaff House was built in the 1840s and is an excellent example of colonial architecture. It was converted into the Museum of Tea Ware in 1984 and is devoted to educating people about ceramic art and tea drinking culture. Pinkies up!
#8 Hong Kong Police Museum
The Hong Kong Police Museum on The Peak is a great one for history buffs, with displays looking at history of triads in the city, as well as a stuffed head of the “Sheung Shui Tiger”, shot in 1915 by two policeman. (Note: Access to the building is via a 55-step uncovered stairway.)
#9 Fireboat Alexander Grantham Exhibition Gallery
This is a hit with young ones who enjoy getting a close up look at a fireboat. The Alexander Grantham was the flagship of the Hong Kong Fire Services Department sea rescue team from 1952 to 2002, and the gallery celebrates this city’s rich links with the harbour. It was closed for a period of time up to late August 2019 for large-scale maintenance work.
#10 Hong Kong Racing Museum
Hong Kong’s love affair with racing is well known, so it’s fitting that there is a museum dedicated to 150 years of racing history. The venue adjoins the world-famous Happy Valley racetrack and looks at the history of the Hong Kong Jockey Club.
#11 Hong Kong Film Archive
Hong Kong’s rich cinematic history is celebrated at the film archive, one of the city’s most fascinating museums. Film buffs can enjoy four floors of exhibitions as well as screenings of old Hong Kong films.
#12 Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence
The Lei Yue Mun Fort was built by the British in the 1880s to protect Hong Kong from sea invasion and is now home to the Museum of Coastal Defence. It holds a permanent exhibition that looks back at 600 years of military history. While the museum is currently closed for a revamp (reopening 2020), there are plenty of outreach programmes and travelling exhibitions planned for the closure period; see the website for more info.
#13 Hong Kong Space Museum
After an extended closure for renovation, the Hong Kong Space Museum has re-opened to the public. The egg-shaped dome has been one of the most recognised landmarks on the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront since it opened in 1980. It has a planetarium and an Omnimax theatre where it screens films. There’s also a replica of a space shuttle nose and cockpit. Regular extension activities are hosted throughout the year.
#14 Hong Kong Museum of Art
The Hong Kong Museum of Art reopened its doors in November 2019 after a massive makeover. Situated on the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront, and with an impressive glass façade, the museum has increased its size by 40 percent, with five new galleries. Housing one of the largest collections of Chinese art and antiquities in the world, it has a section dedicated to Hong Kong art, and a calligraphy collection.
10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
2721 00116 | hk.art.museum
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