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Across Victoria Harbour

1 March - 19 May


The Hong Kong Maritime Museum (HKMM) announces the opening of “Across Victoria Harbour”, running from 1 March to 15 May 2024.  This special exhibition tells the unique story of Victoria Harbour through the history of vessels that plied its waters, including passenger vessels such as sampans, ferries, motorboats, as well as working vessels like lighters, tugboats, and barges. The exhibition features a captivating collection of vintage Hong Kong photos, paintings, historical documents, and ship models, offering its audience a glimpse into the past.  Interactive elements will also enhance visitors’ experience of the exhibition.  A life-size reconstruction of the old motorboat ticket booth will enable visitors to take a sentimental photo with Victoria Harbour as its backdrop, while the multimedia game “Travel by Walla-Walla” will allow the audience to step back in time and relive the nostalgia of chartering a motorboat in the bygone era.Organised and curated by the Hong Kong Maritime Museum, the exhibition explores the rich history of cross-harbour vessels, unveils their cultural significance and invites audiences to reconnect with the harbour, vessels, and the community’s collective memory. This exhibition centres around the familiar sight of Victoria Harbour. Through historical photographs and vessel models, the exhibition illustrates maritime trade activities from Hong Kong’s early years to the present. Of particular interest to maritime enthusiasts will be the once-ubiquitous “Walla-Walla” that recalls the glory days of the motorboat industry.The exhibition is presented in four sections: “The Harbour, the City and the People”, “Crossing the Harbour”, “Freight Transport” and “Changes in Harbour Voyages”. The exhibition will take the audience on a journey through time and illustrate the past and present of cross-harbour vessels with the range of exhibits on display. The exhibition follows the development of Hong Kong from 1842 to the present day, examining how various vessels change alongside Hong Kong society. The increase in commercial activity and population saw the rise of cross-harbour transportation vessels such as ferries and motorboats, catering to the demand for crossing the Victoria Harbour from the late 19th century. Meanwhile, vessels ferrying cargo since before the opening of the port also experienced changes in size, build and function, adapting to the ever-changing needs of Hong Kong’s freight industry.

The exhibition also focuses on the communities behind the vessels. Photographs and historic documents paint a picture of their way of life on and with Victoria Harbour. Interviews with people who worked on “Walla-Wallas”, lighters, tugboats and barges will be featured in the exhibition, allowing the audience to have a deeper understanding and insight into the lives of these communities.

In addition, educational programmes with relevant art & culture elements, guided tours, and talks will be included, targeting groups such as students, families, and young adults respectively, while the significant collections are of interest to researchers. List of fringe activities:1.    Public Talks – “The development of early Hong Kong” TalkHong Kong did not have a large population to start with as an entrepôt. Underlying its subsequent development as a port was a long history of international trade, and from this trade came the justification for its initial growth.  Illustrated with maps, paintings, and early photographs, Mr. Ko Tim Keung will discuss the early port development of Hong Kong, and the foundation of the entrepot trade.Speaker: Mr Ko Tim KeungLanguage: CantoneseDate: 17 Feb 2024Time: 14:30 – 16:00Registration weblink: https://bit.ly/3HNB5Ls2.    Public Talks – “A Brief Discussion on Early Images of Hong Kong” TalkThis talk will be conducted in Cantonese.Speaker: Dr Lai Kin Keung EdwinLanguage: CantoneseDate: 10 Mar 2024Time: 14:30 – 16:00Registration weblink: https://bit.ly/3ugbM1k3.    Public Talks – “Motorboats at the Victoria Harbour”Introduce the once-popular motorboats that shuttled around Victoria Harbour. These passenger boats, also known as “Walla-Walla,” operated throughout the day and bore witness to Hong Kong’s development. Speaker: TBCLanguage: CantoneseDate: 6 April 2024Time: TBCRegistration weblink: TBC4.    Curator-led Tour (Friends of HKMM Exclusive)A guided tour of our exhibition led by the Museum’s curator, and to explore the fascinating narrative behind each exhibit and discover stories during the curatorial process. Language: CantoneseDate: 10 Mar 2024 and 6 Apr 2024Time: 11:30 – 12:30Registration weblink: https://bit.ly/3HHCgfu5.    Tea Party – “How do the curators spend their days in a museum?” Sharing by the curatorial team, the behind-the-scenes work of museum operations and exhibitions. Language: CantoneseDate: 4 May 2024Time: TBCRegistration weblink: TBC

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