For a really strange and bizarre reason I thought I had blogged about this already – the Hong Kong Maritime Museum. But when I looked through my posts this year, I could not find it. I must have dreamt that I had already written about it!
So here is it, the forgotten-to-write-about-this-in-April blog post about the Hong Kong Maritime Museum. For those who know it, they might say: “Oh yes, I remember, it’s in Murray House in Stanley and it’s quite small – so maybe not worth going there just to see the museum”. But that’s wrong. Earlier this year, in January 2013, the Hong Kong Maritime Museum opened in the Central Pier number 8 (next to the Star Ferry).
With this move, it increased its space, moved to a very convenient location (just take the star ferry to get there, walk across from the IFC or Exchange Square where many buses stop or even take one of the bus tours, they stop there too) and upgraded its exhibitions. Here’s a picture of the pier, but that was before the museum opened – now there are blue banners everywhere, so you can’t miss it.
It still is one of the smaller Maritime Museums in the world and there is no outdoor attraction or actual boats to visit, but it owns quite some interesting artifacts in its exhibition that spans three floors. Plus it is really interactive, lots of videos to watch, maps that you can touch and turn, voice recordings of important events or people and displays that kids can explore.
There were a few things that really captured my attention – first of all the timeline and history of the opium war, which was nicely presented, then a big showcase of how the Victoria Harbour has changed over the years and finally an exhibition about the lives of seafarers then and logistics managers/captains today.
The first part of the exhibition is at the ground floor, and it is all dark (to preserve some of the historic artifacts) but also to set the scene – it is about the early history of Hong Kong and how it developed from a small fishing village to a thriving world city.
Once you climb up the second floor (which is all about the maritime world, from safety on the sea to the underwater world), you are surrounded by glass walls from floor to ceiling showing you the Victoria Harbour in its full splendour. You can see the ferries entering the harbour, the cruise ships docking at the Ocean Terminal, the sailing boats in the middle of the channel, some construction boats leaving – and in the distances the massive freight ships, loading cranes and sometimes even warships.
I know that you can see this every day from the harbourside – but what I found really interesting was an interactive display where you could see all the real-time information about those boats, as the Harbour Authority sees too. The display tells you when the ship arrived, what type of ship it is, how long it has been in the harbour and sometimes even where it is going. It was really interesting to see all this happening right in front of me, checking the interactive map with the real-time information and then just looking out of the window to see all the boats and ships in real life.
On the third floor is a smaller area, which is centred around navigation and communication – and there is a ship bridge with all the leavers, displays, handles … it was a big hit with the kids while I was there.
- The Maritime Museum is open from 10am to 6pm from Monday to Friday and from 10am to 7pm on the weekend
- It’s at the Central Ferry Pier Number 8, next to the Star Ferry
- If you don’t know how to get there or wonder what’s on show, call them on 3713 2500
- Tickets are 30 HKD for adults or 15 HKD for seniors, students and kids