Even with the advancement of modern technology and our latest medical systems, COVID-19 is not completely under control up to now. This may make some of us wonder about epidemics and how we controlled epidemics that happened over a century ago? How did people overcome it then? If these are some of the questions you are asking yourself or want your young-lings to understand, then the HKMMS is THE place to go visit.
Located in Caine Lane, an Edwardian era architecture (a popular architectural style while King Edward VII of the UK was in office) stands out from the green. Buildings of this era are usually grand, built with red bricks; less complex compared to other eras. Hong Kong Museum of Medical Sciences is three-storey high with typical Chinese-meet-West design where you can see double-pan and double-roll tiled roof. Verandah gives airflow to cool down in summer. In addition, dutch gable and obelisk-shaped finials are significant to the building.
Pic: verandah of the HKMMS Source: Internet
Date back to 1894, Hong Kong faced the Bubonic plague epidemic which claimed more than a million of lives. The colonial government was determined to improve public health. Apart from tearing down all the buildings in Tai Ping Shan Street area, creating Blake Garden and bathhouses, Bacteriological Institute was born for medical research and vaccine development. The institute’s headquarters relocated in 1960, the building renamed as Old Pathological Institute and continued producing vaccines until the 70s.
In 1990 it becomes a Declared Monument. The Hong Kong College of Pathologists petitioned the Government for its use as a museum in 1995; the museum founded the year after. Before that, it was a medical goods warehouse for Department of Health.
Any historical building is an antique to be preserved and cherished. But this is not the only way to their fate. We believe conserving and restoring can give many historical buildings a second life. To make them more sustainable, we can explore its usage.
The Hong Kong Museum of Medical sciences for example has well curated exhibitions which combine heritage with science relating to diseases and public health issues.
The museum is also 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 Covid or 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.
Living Medical Heritage In The Community Carnival shows a good attempt to make the historical building more “alive” where people can come and walk around: visit permanent exhibition indoor, spend an afternoon playing a number of booths outside. This is totally edu-tainment.
Pic: one of the booth game for laparoscopy experience
Pic: Permanent Exhibition- SARS corner and Lab
Pic: Opening of carnival
The carnival was sponsored by Urban Renewal Fund (URF). Financial support from the government sector or private sector is a catalyst to organize more campaigns. Many historical buildings are run by NGOs, resources often go to research and operations. Extra budget allows them to develop more programmes and promotion and therefore easier to reach the public.
Pic: Information booths
Source: HKMMS Facebook
We look forward to seeing more happenings in this historical buildings and others around the city. It would be a clear opportunity for the public to have greater knowledge to appreciate different venues, causes and last but not the least support conservation work for our generations to come!
re you a science enthusiast, looking ways to spend some time learning on the weekend? Located in the o