Managed by Leisure & Cultural Services Department for preserving the cultural heritage of China, focusing on local artists the Hong Kong Museum of Art maintains an international connection by featuring worldwide works. The museum is further designed to promote art appreciation by all visitors and improving the experiences of community members through artistic expression. It houses over 15,000 items in its regular collections in 5 galleries, while 2 special use galleries are equipped to stage traveling, international, and special exhibits.
THE MUSEUM—HISTORY OF REALIZATION
Established in 1962 as the City Hall Museum and Art Gallery and first housed in City Hall, it was later moved to the present location, built in 1991. The decision to open an art museum, and later design and completion of the present facility, happened rapidly, and in less than twenty years, it was evident that the building could not truly showcase the variety of works the museum was continually accumulating. It is currently in the middle of a massive transformation, and has been closed since August 2015, with a scheduled re-opening in 2019. The museum has seen a 25% increase in visitors since 2010, and it’s quickly-expanding collection necessitates a larger, more modern space.
EXHIBITIONS AMONG TRANSFORMATION
Due to the renovation being undertaken at the museum, pop-up art exhibitions have been held around Hong Kong, as well as the “Museum of Art on Wheels” Outreach Learning Program, bringing art and culture to nearly 200 schools since its inception in 2015. The Hong Kong Museum of Art leadership team has organized exhibits in Salisbury Garden in front of the museum building as well as other locations throughout Hong Kong, maintaining its commitment to art in Hong Kong during the renovation process.
FASCINATING AND UNIQUE COLLECTIONS
The museum houses thousands of works of art, with collections varying from more typical antiquities to historical paintings. A branch of the museum, the Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware, holds the first museum-owned collection devoted to the study and display of tea ware. In addition, the museum houses the Xubaizhai Gallery of Chinese Painting and Calligraphy, established in 1992 to hold the Chinese painting and calligraphy collection of Mr. Low Chuck Tiew, an avid collector whose works extended over 1600 years. After seeing hundreds of pieces sold overseas and the subsequent loss to Chinese heritage and culture, he began his collection and in 1989, donated it to the museum for preservation and education.
BENEFICIARY OF DONORS’ LARGE COLLECTIONS
One aspect that makes the Hong Kong Museum of Art special is its list of large donors. Although a more recent addition to the world of art museums, Hong Kong has been home to several large-scale art collectors who understand the importance of preserving art and culture in Hong Kong. Additionally, some families and heirs have donated hundreds of works of art to be showcased and enjoyed by residents and visitors of Hong Kong for generations to come.