Articles

Museum Blessing

In Hong Kong, Museums on August 28, 2011 by triotriotrio

I like to think that I have had a full career in the museum field. I have had the opportunity to work at two of the most prestigious museums in the world, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Colonial Williamsburg. And during my time at these institutions I was able to meet some incredible people and participate in some wonderful programming.

Me and three of my museum colleagues (I am on the far left)

Moving to Hong Kong has provided me the chance to build upon my museum career. Within my short time at the Hong Kong Maritime Museum I have been able to participate in transforming a museum that is preparing for a big move to a new location. During this move process I have had the chance to witness plans being formed and ideas being shaped. In August the museum took occupancy of its new home at Pier 8 Central. Now the real work begins. The historic pier is going to being renovated and a new interior will give this aging structure new life.

This week I was able to participate with fellow museum staff, city officials, architects and builders in a blessing ceremony. A blessing ceremony is a Hong Kong tradition that is tied with the beginning of any construction project. It was a solemn affair filled with a great deal of good feelings. As an outsider – it was especially rewarding to witness the event and make some observations.

First, I was moved by the opening speech of the chief builder. The ceremony began with him to promise to make this a good project. He stated that he would see the project “on time and on budget.”

Second, there was two huge roasted pigs and on display. I was quickly told that these were not just for “decoration” when the ceremony ended, there was going to be a feast. And it was quite a feast.

Lastly, when the ceremony came to an end and the feasting began, the chief architect, the museum director and the chief builder cut one of the pigs in half. As their hands pulled the ceremonial  cleaver through the flesh I thought this is far more difficult than cutting a ribbon.

It was a great feast. And I was so happy that everyone on the building crew was in attendance. Sure, there was roasted pig to be had but I think that they would be there even if that wasn’t the case. It was a Hong Kong tradition that I was proud to be a part of.

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