Are you a science enthusiast, looking ways to spend some time learning on the weekend? Located in the once plague hit area of Sai Wan is the hidden gem, Hong Kong Medical sciences museum. It promises to take you on a journey of health and heritage with interesting approaches to exhibits and displays. This museum outlines the medical history of Hong Kong beginning from the plague outbreak in Tai Ping Shan to the environmental transmission of SARS coronavirus outbreak in the Amoy Gardens complex.
The museum highlights the journey of research in areas such as health and medicine and the resilience of our local medical staff. Aligned with the museum’s mission to provide a ‘stimulating environment for public education on health and medical sciences’, their exhibits integrate Chinese and Western medical practices to match the needs of the diverse population.
Unique to history
Once concealed by trees, the Hong Kong Museum of Medical Sciences is now visible from Caine road after a recent typhoon. This interesting monument shares some pretty big secrets of Hong Kong medical history.
In 1894, the plague hit Hong Kong. Cases began appearing in several hospitals and increasing rapidly, including an outbreak in the populated area of Tai Ping Shan. Seeing a potential threat to Hong Kong’s position as a commercial port, the government commissioned the building of the Bacteriological Institute in 1906; The first laboratory dedicated to clinical and public health research. This laboratory gradually morphed into recognition of the building as a heritage building and a museum for the public.
The Museum Today
The Hong Kong Museum of Medical sciences has well curated exhibitions which combine heritage with science relating to diseases and public health issues.
The museum is great attraction for kids of all ages when you want them to start learning early. Whether it be to learn about the human body through 3D printed models and videos or virtual recreations of viruses to teach them about influenza. They can learn about the history of infectious diseases in Hong Kong through the help of visual displays without getting bored. Each area has a chop to collect in a booklet for kids to take home and later ponder upon.
Currently, there is an exhibition detailing the epidemiology of SARS coronavirus. Information about the origin, spread and public health efforts surrounding the outbreak is displayed, including interviews with people closely involved with the epidemic.
In another section, a timeline maps out the significant events in Hong Kong medicine, from the arrival of western medicine in 1843 to the SARS outbreak in 2003. The Hong Kong park has a section commemorating medical staff who sacrificed in the SARS war.
Permanent exhibits include the pathology laboratory set up with the original fittings from the Bacteriological Institute. Equipment used for malaria pathology gives us an idea of what laboratory life was like.
Downstairs, the original methods of cultivating smallpox vaccines from bovine is outline with the help of life-sized models. Set up next door is a Chinese herbal shop with many samples of medicinal herbs traditionally used.
Surrounding the exterior of the museum is a garden featuring diverse trees and plants used for medicine, both Chinese and western. Including many varieties such as Magnolia, coleus and star Jasmine.
2 Caine Lane Mid-Levels, Hong Kong
The museum is located near the corner of the Caine Rd and Ladder St. Accessible by a pathway down from ladder street or stairs up from U Lam Terrace.
If travelling with a pram, the easiest way is via the playground on Caine Lane, next to the main staircase. However, keep in mind that the museum itself does not have a lift.
Tues-Fri: 9:30-11:30 am , 12:30-4pm
Sat: 9:30-11:30am, 12:30-4:30pm
Sunday and Public Holidays: 1-5 pm
Medical Volunteer opportunities for retirees/ secondary school students: Hospital Authority (website: http://www.ha.org.hk/tkoh/hrc/hrc_e/volunteergroup_eng.html ) or the Hong Kong Children’s Hospital (website: http://www31.ha.org.hk/hkch/eng/supportus/volunteers.htm ).