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Hong Kong Heritage Museum: Championing Cantonese culture

Hong Kong Heritage Museum: Championing Cantonese culture

Travel and food writer Baldwin Ho heads to the New Territories to discover this hidden cultural gem championing Cantonese culture.

August 17th, 2023

We've mentioned in recent articles, how Hong Kong is rapidly developing into a cultural hub of the Far East. Most of the recent openings have been at the West Kowloon Cultural District. However, if you are prepared to travel a little further afield to Sha Tin, you'll discover a hidden cultural gem that is a mecca for the Cantonese entertainment industry. Hong Kong Heritage Museum has been open since the year 2000 but hasn't always featured on the tourist maps with visitors focusing on attractions in Hong Kong island or Kowloon.

The total exhibition area is around 7,500 square metres and includes five permanent galleries: the Jin Yong Gallery, the Cantonese Opera Heritage Hall, the T.T. Tsui Gallery of Chinese Art, the Chao Shao-an Gallery and the Children's Discovery Gallery. On top of that, they have six thematic galleries that show pop-up exhibitions that highlight the diversity of Cantonese cultural offerings.

Their permanent exhibition: Hong Kong Pop 60+ is arguably one of their most popular permanent exhibitions. It highlights how the cultural melting pot that is Hong Kong has created a diverse environment for creativity to thrive. It covers iconic Hong Kong films like A Better Tomorrow and Infernal Affairs as well as Cantopop legends like Anita Mui and Leslie Cheung. The latter has his special exhibition at the moment: Miss You Much Leslie. It commemorates the 20th anniversary of the passing of superstar Leslie Cheung. The exhibition celebrates his tremendous achievement in music and film with countless stage costumes and vinyl records along with his staggering award collection.

Bruce Lee fans will be in seventh heaven with their Bruce Lee: a Timeless Classic and A Man Beyond the Ordinary: Bruce Lee pop-up exhibitions. It is the 50th anniversary of his iconic film 'Enter the Dragon' which made him a posthumous superstar and also his unfortunate passing away. The exhibition examines the legacy he has left behind in popular culture, whether it is in film, comics or animation. You might come across action figures based on Bruce Lee in various manifestations, his famous nunchaku or the iconic yellow jumpsuit. The exhibitions include large-scale multimedia and interactive programmes.

Hong Kong film buffs will be thrilled when they visit: Out of Thin Air: Hong Kong Film Arts & Costumes Exhibition. It celebrates the golden age of the Hong Kong film industry and explores the industry both in front of the camera and behind the scenes. It focuses on the importance of art and costume design in Hong Kong films. As you stroll through the exhibition, you'll come across memorable costumes, props, set designs, drawing manuscripts, paraphernalia, videos and reconstructed scenes of workshops. Highlights include Brigitte Lin's smuggler lady costume in Chungking Express (1994) and the set design drawing album of Shaw Brothers Studio. The latter was the largest film production company in Hong Kong. They operated from 1925 to 2011.

Although, not all their exhibitions are Hong Kong-focused. They recently held the blockbuster: Virtually Versailles exhibitions. Using cutting-edge digital technology, the exhibition transported you to the famed Hall of Mirrors. And they also had immersive bike installations where you can cycle around the scenic gardens of Versailles. Visitors got to virtually visit Marie-Antoinette's bedchamber and discover the splendid history of the Palace. The exhibition was a roaring success and particularly popular with locals who were still cautious about travelling abroad post-COVID but still wanted a taste of foreign adventures.

They run public guided tours of the various exhibitions free of charge throughout the week. Most are presented in Cantonese but some are offered in English and Mandarin. They also have online programmes that let you experience snippets of the museum without having to head out to Sha Tin. This is a must-visit experience for those who are keen to learn more about Cantonese culture.

To find out more about Hong Kong Heritage Museum, please visit


Baldwin Ho

Baldwin Ho

An intrepid adventurer and foodie, Baldwin is always on the lookout for latest trends on the culinary scene as well as pushing himself out of his comfort zone in trying out new activities. He has a particularly keen interest in food and travel photography.

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