By Alice Tsang
A mild, pleasant and peaceful day in the last week of November 2019 marked the opening of the 2-day Museum Summit 2019 presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in partnership with The British Museum. Over the past few months, there has been some on-going social activities in Hong Kong leading to occasional interruption or cancellation of planned museum programmes. Regardless, it was indeed overwhelming and heart-warming to welcome more than 30 leading figures and professionals among over 1,000 delegates from both local and world-renowned museums and institutions across Asia, Europe, America, Australia and beyond at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Included among the delegates were a number of IIC fellows and members who graced the event as speakers, moderators and connectors between conservation and museum professionals.
Riding on the fruitful outcome of the first Museum Summit held in Hong Kong in 2017, the second Museum Summit in 2019, with the theme ‘Formation and Transformation’, provided a timely platform for unveiling dialogues among museum professionals, seasoned practitioners and museum fanatics as museums around the world face new challenges brought by advancing technology, rapid lifestyle changes and booming choices for cultural activities.
During these two days, eminent speakers shared with the audience their experience and expertise, painting a whole new perspective on museum expansion and development which requires innovative strategies so that museums can innovate, adapt and integrate seamlessly into the ever-evolving world. The Summit also delved into different roles museums take, stimulating international cultural exchange and acting as a bridge between localization and globalization. In addition, the rising trend of applying technological advances in museums—particularly in the representation of arts, ideology and the interpretation of museum collections of past and present cultures to create more interactive experiences for visitors—were also explored.
To commemorate LCSD's long-term relationship with the British Museum, a small display was featured at the Summit venue, showcasing the collaboration of various exhibitions and programmes that the two institutions have worked closely on for the past 30 years. Coinciding with the reopening of the Hong Kong Museum of Art, following its large-scale 3-year renovation, delegates were invited to an evening reception at the Museum of Art. Attendees enjoyed the incredible night scene of the Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong against a backdrop of meticulously curated exhibitions while expanding their professional network with fellow delegates from across the globe.
The Summit concluded with two relaxing and delightful morning tours to cultural and heritage sites as delegates immersed themselves in the unique cultural ecology of this East-meets–West city. The organizing committee is highly pleased and encouraged by the favourable responses, positive feedback and the fruitful outcome of the event and understands that the close of the Summit will not mark the end of our quest for ingenious transformation strategies for our museums. In recollection of fond memories from the Museum Summit 2019, we are pleased to share with you some images at the following site: https://www.museumsummit.gov.hk/en/gallery/
Alice Tsang was an organizing committee member for the Museum Summit 2019. She works as a conservation manager at the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, Hong Kong. She is an IIC Fellow and a current member of the IIC Council.
(to see more pictures, see the Feburary-March 2020 "News in Conservation" Issue 76, p. 46-49)