Hong Kong has signed a HK$3.5 billion deal with Beijing to create a replica of the capital’s celebrated Palace Museum – the Hong Kong Palace Museum – in the city’s West Kowloon Cultural District.
The project is funded by the Jockey Club. It is a highlight of 2017’s events to mark the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to Chinese rule from the British. It is also the result of close collaboration following an agreement in 2012 between the Palace Museum and Hong Kong.
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said work would begin on the new “Hong Kong Palace Museum” next year. He called the original in Beijing’s Forbidden City “one of the most influential museums in the world”.
The Hong Kong Palace Museum, the Biggest Gift
“This is the best and biggest gift to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the motherland, ” he said.
Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor is chair of the board of the authority in charge of West Kowloon. She said the support of the central government was vital. She said, “The future exhibits will be loaned to us by the Palace Museum on a long-term basis, which would have been impossible within the existing state policy on the export of artefacts.”
The Hong Kong Palace Museum will be situated on the cultural district’s western harbourfront. It will be “highly complementary” to the arts and cultural facilities currently under construction. One of these is M+, the project’s museum of modern art which should open in 2019.
The present government policy limits the number of exhibits on loan to 120 items per tour. This is for a maximum period of three months. However, the future museum will exhibit over 1, 000 items on display for up to three years at a time.
A press release from the government said that “developing a museum with a clear focus on Chinese history, art and culture in Hong Kong is fully in line with the vision of developing Hong Kong into a cultural metropolis”.
The new museum will have footprint of approximately 10, 000 square metres and will feature two exhibition galleries. These will house the permanent display of relics from the Palace Museum. The museum will also feature activity rooms, souvenir shops, a 400-seat lecture theatre and restaurants.