THE prize for strange collections of the year must surely go to the Museum of History, which is urgently looking for old women who earn a living from removing hairs from facial moles. Quack street dentists and people who make wooden buckets could also find themselves part of the museum's growing collection of traditional tools and exhibitions of old skills. ''It is becoming urgent that we find people who practise the old trades of Hong Kong and record what they do, and what their methods are,'' said museum curator Ho Ching-hin. ''It is all disappearing so fast, and if we do not go out with our video cameras now we will lose the knowledge forever.'' He said a team from the museum had been visiting the streets of Western and other old areas to see what they could catch on video, in preparation for an exhibition on trades and crafts planned for early 1995. Since he started the project, Mr Ho told us, he has become something of an expert on mole-hair pulling. ''You can still sometimes see old ladies in the back streets who are paid a few dollars to remove hairs with pieces of string,'' he said. ''They first powder the face and put the string into a loop, so it functions like scissors or tweezers. ''But these amahs are dying off, and the demand for their skill has dropped because the barbers' shops and hairdressers have taken over the job.'' Mr Ho said it was a tradition in southern China. ''If you go into a barber's shop in Shanghai, he will ask you whether you want it to be done; if you visit a Cantonese barber he will automatically slice off the hairs.'' He said the team was also looking for any remaining quack dentists operating on the streets of Hong Kong, or boxes of instruments. ''Street dentists were part of my childhood and that of my generation. These men would walk around the streets of Wan Chai advertising a cure for toothache. ''Usually the cure was pliers and a painful tooth extraction.'' He said it was extremely unlikely that any of these dentists still practised in Hong Kong, but he was hoping to track down some of the old-fashioned tools of their trade. ''We would be very interested to locate them, so the public can see how Hong Kong has changed.''