Working with maritime archaeologist Bill Jeffery PhD, leading maritime museums in China and subject matter experts, HKMM has outlined a strategy for the development of a UCH programme in Hong Kong.
The Proposal provides a perspective on Hong Kong, China and International legal and best practices to implement UCH. Today, China is very active and has dedicated significant resources to UCH including an estimated 50 to 100 individuals carrying out projects, a state-of-the-art research vessel and several museums that showcase China’s long and rich maritime history.
The Proposal also explores how the Hong Kong government manages UCH, which apart from some general provisions of the Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance applying to UCH as it does to all types of Hong Kong’s heritage, there are no specific provisions that support the need for an active UCH programme. Importantly, this lack of focused policy and defined approach significantly contrasts with Hong Kong’s built heritage, archaeological sites and intangible cultural heritage conservation, in which territory-wide surveys have been implemented and active ongoing programmes are conducted. That said, a good start has been made in the area of community collaboration which includes specialised training courses for recreational divers having conducted by the Hong Kong Underwater Heritage Group.
The Proposal recommends a two-phase strategy for the development of UCH in Hong Kong.
- Phase 1. The first phase is a two-year territory-wide survey of Hong Kong’s UCH. Activities and outcomes of such work include: creating an inventory of all of Hong Kong’s underwater cultural heritage, the identification of significant UCH archaeological sites of interest and if appropriate, nominate sites as monuments under the AM Ordinance; correlating special exhibitions at HKMM that focus on the territory-wide survey outcomes; a community awareness campaign with the goal of attracting more recreational divers to become certified in UCH, and the development of a three-year strategic plan.
- Phase 2. The second phase of the Proposal includes ongoing community engagement initiatives, input into academic courses, the development of tourism initiatives and school programming, site excavations, archaeological exhibitions, collaboration with other Hong Kong and PRD museums and collaboration with PRC and foreign agencies in UCH management.