Articles

Dr Sun Yat-sen Museum

In Hong Kong, Museums on January 26, 2011 by triotriotrio

Dr Sun Yat-sen Museum

7 Castle Road, Mid-Levels, Central, Hong Kong

Open Monday to Wednesday & Friday to Saturday 10 am – 6 pm

I recently had the opportunity to visit one of Hong Kong’s most interesting museums. I was particularly interested in visiting because I knew very little about Dr. Sun Yat-sen and the important role that he play in the early part of the 20th century. He can be characterized as one of the most important figures in the early Revolutions that changed China from a Dynasty to a Republic. Dr. Yat-sen would serve as China’s first President.

I approached my visit with a careful eye on how he would be portrayed as well as how he would be memorialized. How would this visit be different from one to Mount Vernon, I thought to myself. I was also keenly aware that this story would have a Hong Kong slant, what would I discover?

Although there are many interesting points that could be discussed I chose to highlight three here:

Western Perspective: One of the narratives that is important to the museum is how early influences in Yat-sen’s life  shaped his moral views. In particular, they highlight his Western education, conversion to Christianity and his residences in Hong Kong and Hawaii as major factors. They argue that Hong Kong as a British territory afforded him protections that would not have been possible if he had been based in Mainland China. These protections helped him formulate his Revolutionary plans. Since Dr. Yat-sen efforts helped to establish the current People’s Republic of China, I thought what an interesting palate to begin a conversation how China and the West can work together on a future that is based in the past.

Kid Friendly: I was thrilled to see so many activities for young people at the museum. There is a computer room that is filled with online activities about Dr. Yat-sen and the Revolution, including numerous games. There is a 15 minute cartoon narrated by two children who are visiting the museum that explains why Dr. Yat-sen is important. One of the things that I really enjoyed is seeing how this film connects Hong Kong school children to China, and how these children should be proud that Hong Kong played such an important role in China’s formation. Very Patriotic!

Conservation and Preservation: I was not expecting that a main storyline of the museum is the preservation and conservation of the museum itself. They do a wonderful job touting all the effort that Hong Kong Leisure and Cultural Department did to restore the museum’s historic structure back to its 1914 appearance. A short film spotlights several architectural features that visitors should look for. I was disappointed that photography is not permitted in the museum because there are some fantastic Edwardian tiles on display.

Now I feel that I am a little more connected to Hong Kong. More and more I am impressed by the amazing role that this tiny island has played, not only here but on a global perspective. I look forward to going back again and trying out more of their online activities.

Statue of Dr. Yat-sen outside the Museum

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