The West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA) marked the commencement of the construction of the Hong Kong Palace Museum (HKPM) with a ground breaking ceremony at the site today.

Set to open in 2022, the HKPM will be a museum with a clear focus on Chinese art and culture. It will showcase the exquisite collections of the Palace Museum in a comprehensive and in-depth manner.  The museum will have around 7,600 square metres of gallery space for exhibiting selected art pieces from the collection of the Palace Museum. This will include paintings, calligraphy, ceramics, bronze and jade items. In addition, there will be thematic displays on the culture and history of the Forbidden City and life in the Imperial Court, special exhibitions and a digital gallery. The museum will house a lecture theatre, activity rooms, food outlets and other ancillary facilities.

The museum’s design is a contemporary interpretation of classic Chinese visual and spatial aesthetics. It builds on a concept of linked courtyards translated into a series of atriums stacked one on top of another that draw the visitors upwards while offering stunning views to the South, East and West of the site.

Officiating at the ceremony, Mrs Carrie Lam, the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), said, “As the much anticipated West Kowloon Cultural District is gradually becoming a prominent landmark on the waterfront of Victoria Harbour, the Hong Kong Palace Museum will be the jewel on the crown.  With the new dedicated museum, local residents and visitors will enjoy long-term opportunities to appreciate the exquisite Palace Museum collection, to be curated in a comprehensive and in-depth manner with Hong Kong characteristics.”

Mr Bernard Charnwut Chan, Chairman of the HKPM Board, commented that, “The HKPM will complement the arts and cultural facilities under construction in the WKCD. Apart from the construction of the museum building, the HKPM will attach importance to building up cultural software including curatorial development, conservation, learning and interpretation, and provide valuable opportunities for collaboration with other museums in research and education, thereby facilitating cultural exchange and cooperation between Hong Kong, the Mainland, and beyond.”

Dr Shan Jixiang, Director of the Palace Museum said, “We are determined to bring the best of our collection to the HKPM, and provide opportunities for the residents of Hong Kong and visitors to appreciate the beauty of our cultural treasures. As a multi-dimensional and vibrant museum, the HKPM will provide a wealth of digital presentations, and should tap into the internet, digital and multimedia technologies that are ever progressing. We also look forward to working with WKCDA and HKPM colleagues to launch lecture series by specialists and academics, present classes targeted at young people and develop cultural and creative products, with a view to making the HKPM truly part of everyday life.”

The HKPM project has been made possible thanks to a generous donation of HK$3.5 billion from the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust. Dr Simon S O Ip, Chairman of The Hong Kong Jockey Club, remarked that many cities worldwide have their own signature museums and that the Hong Kong Palace Museum underlines Hong Kong’s status as an international cultural metropolis. “The Club is committed to supporting arts and cultural projects. We have also been working with the HKSAR Government and the Palace Museum on seven top-notch exhibitions, already launched or soon to be launched, including the ‘Treasure of Time’ exhibition this coming December,” he said. “The HKPM will enable citizens to visit and appreciate long-term exhibitions of national treasures, and will also promote Chinese culture to overseas visitors.”

The ground breaking ceremony was officiated by Mrs Carrie Lam, the Chief Executive of HKSAR.  Other officiating guests included Dr Shan Jixiang, Director of the Palace Museum; Mr Liu Shuguang, Deputy Director-general of State Administration of Cultural Heritage; Mr Lau Kong-wah, Secretary for Home Affairs; Mr Henry Tang, Chairman of the WKCDA Board; Mr Ronald Arculli, Vice Chairman of the WKCDA Board; Mr Bernard Charnwut Chan, the HKPM Board Chairman; Dr Simon Ip, Chairman of HKJC; Mr Anthony Chow, Deputy Chairman of HKJC; Dr Rocco Yim, Principal of Rocco Design Architects Limited; and Mr Thomas Ho, Chief Executive of Gammon Construction Limited.

WKCDA is now building a professional team to support the planning and operation of HKPM.  Recruitment of the Executive Director of HKPM is underway.

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About West Kowloon Cultural District

Located on Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour, the West Kowloon Cultural District is one of the largest cultural projects in the world. Its vision is to create a vibrant new cultural quarter for Hong Kong. With a complex of theatres, performance spaces, and museums, the West Kowloon Cultural District will produce and host world-class exhibitions, performances, and cultural events, and will provide twenty-three hectares of public open space, including a two-kilometre waterfront promenade.