Journalists pin hopes on old market for news museum

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 January, 2012, 12:00am


A disused market could become an exhibition centre telling the story of Hong Kong through the contributions of its news media, under a plan put forward by the Journalism Education Foundation.

The former Bridges Street Market in Sheung Wan, a grade-three historic building, would become the first museum of its kind in Asia and only the second in the world if the foundation's plans for the News-Expo are approved.

The foundation, set up by the Newspaper Society of Hong Kong and the News Executives' Association in 2006, said the museum of news would reflect the cultural and historical significance of the site.

Foundation chairwoman May Chan Suk-mei confirmed it was interested in creating a museum of news. 'We are drafting a bid for the project,' she said.

The now-vacant market forms part of the site of the former American Congregational Mission's preaching hall, where Sun Yat-sen, the founder of modern China, was baptised in 1883. Sun lived in the building between 1884 and 1886 while studying at the nearby Central School.

Many of Hong Kong's oldest newspapers were based near the market in their early years, including Tsun Wan Jih Pao, the South China Morning Post, The China Mail and Wah Kiu Yat Po.

Founded by reformer and political columnist Wang Tao in 1874, Tsun Wan Jih Pao was the first modern Chinese-language newspaper to be set up by a Chinese person.

The 950 square metre market was the city's first post-war market building and also its first in the Bauhaus style, popularised by German architects in the 1920s.

An earlier redevelopment proposal would have seen the market demolished to make way for a memorial square honouring Sun, as part of a wider plan by the Urban Renewal Authority to rebuild the surrounding area.

The Development Bureau last year asked for proposals for the future use of the market, along with two other historic buildings.

Chan, also director of news and public affairs for Commercial Radio, said the foundation was still working out the details of the plan. The foundation would manage the News-Expo as a cultural landmark and tourist attraction.

The world's only museum with news as its main theme is the Newseum in the United States, which relocated to Washington in 2008 from its original Virginia site.


The cost, in US dollars, of building the Newseum in Washington

$The popular attraction spans 23,000 square metres over seven floors