Hong Kong Museum of Art

The museum closed in August of 2015 for a $400 million expansion and renovation. It will remain closed for approximately three years. Please refer to other things to do in China.

When you think of Hong Kong images, one usually defaults to images of bustling city streets, of endless nightlife, swelling karaoke bars and the glittering movie theaters. One might even think of the elegant beaches that entice a number of locals and tourists alike to their forgotten shores. But with so many tourist attractions in Hong Kong available to visitors, few people travel here to gain a glimpse into China's rich artistic past, and fewer tend to seek out the handful of waiting Hong Kong museums. This is a particular shame in regards to the Hong Kong Museum of Art—it is the largest of the Hong Kong museums and is a welcome respite from the busy streets surrounding it.

Museum of Art Hong Kong
Museum of Art Hong Kong

The museum houses some of the world's finest examples of ancient Chinese art from the Han to the Qing dynasties. As the Communist revolution chased many artists south, the first flowering of an artistic community blossomed in the 1920s. The continual growth led to the establishment of the museum in 1962, it moved to its current home in the Hong Kong Cultural Center in 1991. Like many Chinese museums, the Hong Kong Museum of Art prominently features a wide collection of calligraphy, one of the main connections China has to its past. The tan, box-like exterior exudes a specifically modern feel, even deep in the heart of Kowloon. Many of the exhibitions, however, date back further than anything you'll find in the other Hong Kong Museums.

As with any museum, you'll have a wide range of options when it comes to tours of the Hong Kong Museum Of Art. Personalized tours can be arranged in a number of languages and audio tours are readily available, though plenty of tourists prefer to walk the halls of one of the most rewarding tourist attractions in Hong Kong all by themselves.

Other than calligraphy, there are a number of other Chinese antiquities dating all the way back to the Neolithic period. Ceramics, jade, bronze and carved bamboo make up a large portion of this collection, one of the highest regarded collections of any of the Hong Kong museums. The geography of Hong Kong makes it almost a prerequisite that it features a great number of works found or created in the south of China. Its history as an international port has allowed the Hong Kong Museum of Art to garner a burgeoning collection of international works, displayed in two special exhibition galleries inside.

So, while crowds of visitors clog the streets of Kowloon or venture out towards the sandy beaches in the islands of the region, the savvy traveler will seek out one of the most impressive and unfairly ignored tourist attractions in Hong Kong: its museum of art, which has stood out, an iconoclastic symbol for over 40 years and the museum will no doubt continue to make a name for itself in the approaching future.

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