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Hong Kong gets a new Maritime Museum

Less than a year after closing its doors, Hong Kong Maritime Museum reopens its doors to the public in a former pier.

HONG KONG- The new Maritime Museum is part of a vast project of reclaiming Hong Kong Central Harbour by adding a park, a promenade as well as cultural institutions. The redevelopment- which will last until 2017-  was initiated to make the Special Administration Territory even more attractive for both its population and visitors. 

Closed since June 2012, the Hong Kong Maritime Museum reopened at a new location, Central Ferry Pier 8, on 26th February 2013. The museum used to be located within the premises of Murray House in Stanley. The current facilitiy relocated to the former pier for Star Ferry services between Central and Hung Hom which ceased to operate at the end of March 2011. The museum occupies the eastern berth of the upper and lower deck levels and the whole of the public viewing deck and roof viewing deck. The western berth of the pier and upper and lower deck levels are being retained by Star Ferry Pier Company and a marriage registration company.

The non-profit making private museum was launched in 2004 by the Hong Kong Shipowners Association. It first opened to the public at Murray House in 2005. Since opening, the number of exhibits has increased from about 650 to over 3,000 and the library collection offers now up to 2,000 books and the museum had quickly outgrown its gallery space. The location of the museum was also considered inconvenient for educational visits, being some distance from Hong Kong’s central districts and many schools.

The Hong Kong Government agreed to support the museum. The  site is located on a 10-year contract basis, the museum paying only a symbolic dollar per annum. where the museum for ten years at a nominal rent of one dollar per annum.

The maritime museum requests an investment of  HK$101.2 million for the relocation and construction works. The Government is also contributing up to about HK$4.5 million of the estimated HK$12 -14 million annual operating costs for the first five years of operation. The new museum, which illustrates over 2,000 years of maritime history, has a floor space of over 4,000 square-metres, almost ten times the floor space of the former Murray House. It features fifteen themed galleries including a viewing gallery, a special exhibitions gallery, maritime heritage resource centre and shop.

The relocation and expansion has provided Hong Kong with another first-class museum and brings welcome new life the Central waterfront which has been blighted by reclamation work for many years.

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Luc Citrinot a French national is a freelance journalist and consultant in tourism and air transport with over 20 years experience. Based in Paris and Bangkok, he works for various travel and air transport trade publications in Europe and Asia.

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