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LCQ4: Public museums

     Following is a question by Hon Yiu Si-wing and a reply by the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Tsang Tak-sing, in the Legislative Council today (December 17):


     Some members of the public have relayed to me that among the public museums which the Government has deployed considerable resources to build and operate, some of them have recorded low attendances. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) of the respective attendances of the various museums under the Leisure and Cultural Services Department in each of the past three years;

(2) of the respective incomes and general expenses of the museums mentioned in (1) in each of the past three years; and

(3) of the museums that have recorded distinctly low attendances or the attendances of which have shown a relatively significant downward trend; whether the authorities have analysed the causes for such situations and explored ways to increase attendance; if they have explored, of the details, including whether they will consider partnering with commercial organisations in operating the museums; if they have not explored, the reasons for that?


Acting President,

     Thanks Hon Yiu for the questions.

     Public museums are non-profit, permanent institutions in the service of society and its development, open to the public, which acquire, conserve, research, communicate and exhibit the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and its environment for the purposes of education, study and enjoyment. Our reply to the three questions is below:

(1) The LCSD manages 14 museums, two heritage centres, two visual art centres and one film archive. In the past three years, the total attendance of the museums grew by year from 5.10 million (5.18 million) in 2011 to 6.13 million in 2013, representing an increase of 18 per cent. With a new record beat in 2013, it is expected that the attendance will continue to rise in 2014. Details are set out in Annex 1.

(2) The expenditure and revenue (excluding sponsorship in cash) of the LCSD museums for the financial years between 2011-12 and 2013-14 are tabulated in Annex 2.

(3) Attendance of museums varies depending on a number of factors including the location, size and nature of the museums as well as the theme and duration of the exhibitions. With the expert advice given by the Museum Expert Advisers and the concerted efforts of the three Museum Advisory Panels and museum staff, programmes and exhibitions held by museums in the past two years were well received and highly popular. In the past three years, mega exhibitions such as "Legends of the Giant Dinosaurs", "Studio Ghibli Layout Designs: Understanding the Secrets of Takahata and Miyazaki Animation", "The Majesty of All Under Heaven: The Eternal Realm of China's First Emperor", "Imperishable Affection: The Art of Feng Zikai - Creating a World of Compassion" and "PICASSO - Masterpieces from Musée National Picasso, Paris" staged by the LCSD were warmly received. In order to achieve a diversified combination of exhibitions, the artistic, historic, scientific and education values as well as audience building would be taken into consideration in the planning stage in addition to audience appeal.

     In order to broaden the appeal of small museums at remote locations, the LCSD will organise more extension activities at these museums, including fun days at Fireboat Alexander Grantham Exhibition Gallery and Dr Sun Yat-sen Museum, demonstrations on unicorn dance, Hakka Cha Kwo and patterned bands as well as cultural talks at Law Uk Folk Museum to attract more local and overseas visitors. Separately, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the discovery of Lei Cheng Uk Han Tomb, the LCSD will stage a major exhibition next year on the Han Dynasty. In order to attract visitors, enormous efforts will be made to highlight the cultural relics of the Han Dynasty and promote Lei Cheng Uk Han Tomb Museum.

     On partnership between public museums and commercial organisations, we will identify suitable operators and facilitate them to provide quality service for museum café and bookshops in order to enhance the image of our museums. Meanwhile, the museums will also continue their co-operation with tertiary institutions and various organisations to further enhance community participation in museums programmes and extension activities.

     During recent years, in order to actively cultivate a wider audience base, the LCSD has been striving to bring high quality blockbuster exhibitions to members of the public. The Home Affairs Bureau has signed the agreement on enhancing cultural exchange and co-operation with the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, while the LCSD has also signed the letter of intent on co-operation with the Palace Museum and the National Museum of China. This paves the way to bring more precious relics that portray the rich tapestry of Chinese history and culture to Hong Kong more frequently to attract local visitors. To illustrate, an exhibition on Mogao Caves, Dunhuang titled "Dunhuang - Untold Tales, Untold Riches" is now staging at Hong Kong Heritage Museum and another exhibition on the treasures from the Palace Museum tentatively titled "Western Instrument Collection of Palace Museum" will be held at Hong Kong Science Museum in 2015. Meanwhile, ties with renowned museums overseas are also being actively pursued for bringing exciting blockbuster exhibitions to Hong Kong.

     Thank you, Acting President.

Ends/Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Issued at HKT 15:15


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