HK Maritime Museum expects millionth visitor in anniversary year

The Hong Kong Maritime Museum’s celebration of its 15th anniversary in 2018 is expected to coincide with the arrival of its millionth visitor by the end of the year.

At HKMM the coming year will feature two major exhibitions together with its most ambitious outreach programme yet. Aided by an increased government subvention and sponsorship, which it is currently seeking to raise, the HKMM will launch its East meets West exhibition in August. East meets West examines through a range of artefacts and images, the Maritime Silk Road from the 14th century to the 18th century. The exhibition will be on show through to October 2018.

From May 2018 HKMM will launch a roving exhibition to many of Hong Kong’s primary schools. Part of the exercise will be the distribution of Maritime Learning education packs to more than 60,000 school pupils. Compiled by academics and sponsored by the Hong Kong Maritime and Port Board under its Maritime and Aviation Training Fund, pupils will receive an exciting introduction to the world of maritime and logistics through a wealth of fun, interactive learning materials. A new website aimed specifically at young children will also be launched to coincide with the roving exhibition.

From December 2018 a travelling exhibition on the impact of American Traders in China in the 19th century will make the HKMM its home for three months. The exhibition will explore the relationship between southern China and the northeast United States.

In fiscal 2017, the Museum welcomed 136,656 visitors, up 5% on 2016.

A highlight of 2017 was the “On Sharks and Humanity” exhibition. The contemporary art exhibition, sponsored by Hong Kong Parkview and in partnership with the international non-profit organization, WildAid, successfully raised public awareness of shark conservation in Hong Kong and the Greater Pearl River Delta region. According to an onsite survey 70% of visitors claimed they would avoid the consumption of shark-based products.

An exclusively HKMM curated exhibition focusing on Chinese silver exports also brought in the crowds. In the 19th century China imported silver from Mexico, Latin America and the Philippines whereupon Chinese silversmiths (primarily in the south of the country) would fashion exquisite art works that were highly sought across the globe.

In addition to the exhibitions held in 2017, the HKMM also spent HK$700,000 on new artefacts including images contemporaneous with the Taiping Rebellion in China in the 19th century and a collection of antique maps that will feature in the International Map Collectors Society Symposium at HKMM in October 2018.

In order to maintain the high quality of its services to the community both in-house and on the road HKMM is highly reliant on government funding and external sponsorship. Last year fundraising income rose 23% HK$1.954m. Recognising the important contribution HKMM makes toward community education and entertainment, the Hong Kong Government has increased its 2018 annual subvention to HK$6m, up from HK$4.4m in 2017.

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