• What's On

The World on Paper: From Square to Sphericity Special Exhibition

18 December 2019 to 15 March 2020

The Qian Kun, one of the trigrams in the Yijing (Book of Changes), traditionally represents the concept of tiandi (heaven and earth) for the Chinese. Chinese understanding of the outside world was changed gradually by expeditions and exploration. During the Ming and the Qing dynasties, Western missionaries introduced new concepts and discoveries in fields such as science and cartography to China, thereby greatly influencing scientific development and China’s perception of the world. At the same time, Chinese maps and books also reached Japan and Europe, enriching the whole world’s understanding of China, and promoting the exchange of culture and knowledge.

These maps and ancient books do not only record history; they also reflect the philosophies and cultures of the time. In this exhibition of maps and rare books, The Hong Kong Maritime Museum hopes to demonstrate the evolution of Chinese navigation and cartography, explore the changes in China’s world view and scientific knowledge, and explain cultural exchanges between China and foreign countries during the early modernisation period (19th to 20th centuries).

The exhibition is organised by the Hong Kong Maritime Museum, co-organised with HKUST Lee Shau Kee Library andthe Library of Macau University of Science and Technology; China Resources Group as major sponsor and supported by the Home Affairs Bureau, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.  Mr Tam Kwong Lim, and Prof Fung Kam Wing, Board Directors of the Hong Kong Maritime Museum also serve as the guest curatorsof the exhibition.

The exhibition has four main sections: (1) The development of Chinese and Western navigation and cartography, (2) Traditional Chinese cartography, (3) The encounter of Chinese and Western cartography during the Ming and the Qing dynasties and (4) Mapmaking of China, particularly in the region of the Pearl River Delta and Hong Kong.  Exhibits include around 80 rare maps and charts, and 50 books from the late Qing and early Republican eras, as well as many cartographic tools and instruments. In addition to the items of the organiser’s and co-organisers’collections, the exhibition also includesobjects borrowed from the Hong Kong Science Museum,Fung Ping Shan Library, The University of Hong Kong Libraries, the Chinese University of Hong Kong Library, the and other private collections. Some of the exhibitsare on display for the first time. Various institutions such asthe Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Vatican City, the Library of Congress, the Hunan Museum, the Gansu Antique Archaeology Institute,the Tokiwa Museum of Historical Materials,the UK Hydrographic Office Collection andthe Hong Kong Marine Department had kindly provided their important electronic maps.  Through these valuable pieces, visitors could not only gain a comprehensive understanding of the culture and history of Chinese cartography, but also admire the unique artistic flavour of these maps.  



Cover for talk promotion

THE DRAGON AND THE EAGLE: American Traders in China, A Century of Trade from 1784 to 1900

14 December 2018 - 14 April 2019
(Please click here to buy the exhibition catalog)
The dragon and the eagle have long been recognised as the symbols of China and the United States respectively. At the end of the eighteenth century, China was the oldest empire in the world, while the United States was the youngest republic. Their initial relations began when the first American trading ship, the Empress of China, sailed from New York to Canton on Washington’s Birthday, February 22, 1784. The distinctive Stars and Stripes inspired the Chinese to refer to America as the “Flowery-Flag” country.
Curated by the Hong Kong Maritime Museum, this long–planned exhibition aims to unfold the history of early Sino–American trade in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The exhibition will be divided into five sections, namely “Dreaming of the East”, “Treaty Ports”, “Speeding up the Trade”, “Exotic Tastes”, and “Building a Community”. With selections from the prominent collections of the Hong Kong Maritime Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Winterthur Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Peabody Essex Museum, the Independence Seaport Museum, the Baker Library, Harvard Business School, The Kelton Foundation, the Swire HK Archive Service, the HSBC Archives, and a number of local and US-based collectors, this exhibition showcases valuable trade goods, export artefacts, nautical instruments, and archival materials, demonstrating the two nations’ bilateral benefits in maritime trade, commerce and business, marine and nautical technologies, and social and cultural developments. The exhibition also serves as a platform for visitors to review this aspect of our shared history.
Sponsors Acknowledgements:
Cathay Pacific Airways                
Hinrich Foundation 
Anthony and Susan Hardy 
Crown Worldwide Group  
Modern Terminals Limited
Valles Steamship Co., Ltd
Keesal, Young & Logan           
The American P&I Club    
Title Sponsor
Platinum Sponsor
Gold Sponsor
Gold Sponsor
Gold Sponsor
Gold Sponsor
Silver Sponsor
Silver Sponsor






Special Thanks

U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong and Macau
Hong Kong Maritime Museum Endowment Trust

'East Meets West: Maritime Silk Routes in the 13th – 18th Centuries' Exhibition

14 August - 11 November 2018
(Please click here to buy the exhibition catalog)
East Meets West: Maritime Silk Routes in the 13th -18th Centuries is the highlight of the HKMM exhibition programme this summer. Co-organised with the Guangdong Museum and supported by the Department of Culture of Guangdong Province and Home Affairs Bureau HKSAR, and sponsored by The Swire Group Charitable Trust, the exhibition will present important artefacts in the Southern Song to the Early Qing dynasties in the perspectives of community trade, religions, cultural exchange, historical and maritime archaeology, to encourage understanding of the development of maritime silk roads along the Southern coast of China. Based on the travelling exhibition presented by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage at Internationales Maritimes Museum (Germany) and Museum Palazzo Venezia (Italy) respectively in 2017, and this re-curated exhibition will feature additional highlights, including shipwrecks of Nanhai No. 1, Wanli and Nanao No. 1, and from local Hong Kong waters. 
The exhibition will be divided into five sections, namely “Connecting the Globe”, “Mapping East and West”, “Economic Sea”, “Sunken Treasures” and “Maritime Civilisations”. The first section “Connecting the Globe” will introduce the development of Maritime Silk Routes and important sailing routes between East and West. The second section “Mapping East and West” will illustrate navigational maps and charts, and present interpretations of China via historical Western and Chinese maps. The third section “Economic Sea” will introduce the ideas of “fragrance”, “beauty” and “Ore” in the seaborne trade, by showing commodities such as tea, medicine, spice, porcelain, silk, gold, silver as well as precious gems. The fourth section “Sunken Treasures” will present the latest shipwreck materials found in Guangdong and Hong Kong, including the Nanhai No. 1 and Nanao No. 1 shipwrecks, and the Song anchor stock excavated from Hong Kong waters. The role of Hong Kong in the global maritime silk routes will also be discussed. And the last section “Maritime Civilisations” will discuss the spread of religion across the ocean including Islam, Christianity and Buddhism, and religious relics remains found in China. In addition, this section will also discuss missionaries as well as cultural, scientific and industrial exchanges between East and West.

Passions for Shipbuilding

18 November 2018 - 31 March 2019

Co-organised with the Shipowners Association, this exhibition aims to provide the public, particularly young people, with first-hand experience and close appreciation of modern shipbuilding. It seeksto do so through usage of various representative modern ship models, and learning opportunities regarding the structures of merchant ships, the development of shipbuilding technology in green shipping, and the reduction of air emission. Showcased examples include the famous vessels, and the first aircraft carrier, Liaoning, which travelled to Hong Kong and was re-built by the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC). Some examples also demonstrate the development of shipbuilding in Greater China, with strong support from the shipping industry in Hong Kong. The first order for a large Chinese-made bulk carrier was ordered by a shipowner in Hong Kong.
The exhibition hopes to help the public, students and parents to appreciate and better understand the vital importance of the shipping industry, environmental concerns and precautions of the latest technology in the industry towards a better world. It also hopes to arouse interest among young people of the shipping industry and professional maritime-related job opportunities that are available around the world.