Bigger and better: Hong Kong museum festival set to thrill with art, films and relics up close

Third such event held in city will be on larger scale, with some Qing Dynasty pieces set to make their Hong Kong debut

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 31 May, 2017, 6:34pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 31 May, 2017, 9:51pm

Chairs used by Empress Dowager Cixi and stamps and clothes of Qing Dynasty emperors will be displayed in the city as part of the museum festival this year.

In the coming months, Hongkongers will be able to get even closer to the royal belongings than visitors to the Forbidden City in Beijing – where the exhibits come from – according to organisers.

From June 24 to July 9, the Muse Fest HK 2017, the third museum festival held in the city, will feature nearly 100 history, art and film activities.

Organisers said the event would connect different museums and build interest in people, as part of the theme – “rippling”.

Two key exhibitions will showcase more than 400 Qing Dynasty items, most of them coming to Hong Kong for the first time.

Jin Yong show opens at Hong Kong Heritage Museum

In June, the Hong Kong Heritage Museum will display over 230 pieces of furniture and artwork from the Hall of Mental Cultivation, the living and working place for eight Qing emperors.

Szeto Yuen-kit, curator of the Hong Kong Museum of Art, which organised the event, said visitors would be allowed to “walk into” the reconstructed royal rooms to examine the exhibits.

Cixi hid behind a curtain in one of the rooms, advising her young son on how to rule. The story spawned the Chinese phrase “holding court from behind a screen”.

Szeto said: “We want visitors to feel the pulse of history.”

In another exhibition, to be held at the Hong Kong Museum of History from July 2, birthday gifts received by emperors and empress dowagers will be on display.

Exhibits include a vase covered in thousands of prints of the Chinese character “longevity”.

Meanwhile, films adapted from Louis Cha’s martial arts novels will be screened at the Hong Kong Film Archive.

Classics shown every weekend from June 24 to July 9 include an opera film directed by Cha in 1960. Free tickets have been available at the Hong Kong Film ­Archive since Wednesday.

According to Chan Shing-wai, assistant director at the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, an estimated 300,000 people will participate in the museum festival this year. It is also expected to be organised on a larger scale than the previous two events.

Chan said Hongkongers were recommended to purchase the one-year museum pass for HK$50 for a single person, and HK$100 for a family of four.

He also added that festival ­organisers hoped to attract tourists from Guangdong province and Macau.

“We want them to have other options besides shopping and sightseeing,” Chan said.

“We hope this festival will ­become a brand name in the industry.”