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Speech by CS at opening of Museum Summit - Museums in a New Era (English only) (with photos/video)
     Following is the speech by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, at the opening of the Museum Summit - Museums in a New Era today (June 26):

Dr Shan Jixiang (Director of the Palace Museum), distinguished speakers, guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good morning. On behalf of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government, I would like to extend my warmest welcome to all of you to the Museum Summit hosted by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department in association with the Palace Museum. And for those who travelled all the way to join us here, welcome to Hong Kong.

     We feel deeply honoured and privileged to host this Summit, particularly with heavyweights from the world's top museums across various disciplines who came to Hong Kong on this special occasion. This is a rare occasion for Hong Kong and we really treasure this Summit, particularly taking place in the year 2017, which marks the 20th anniversary of our return to the motherland and the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. To celebrate this special occasion, the HKSAR Government organises a rich variety of events under the theme "Together · Progress · Opportunity". As one of the celebration highlights, the Museum Summit which opens today will provide a golden opportunity for some of the most brilliant minds in the museum field to meet, to share, to inspire and, more importantly, to connect.

     In the international arena, Hong Kong has always been playing an active role in facilitating the development of a vibrant and colourful culture in the region. We now have over 70 museums in the territory and about half of them are run by the Government. Our private and public museums aspire to connect our visitors with the rich cultural legacy in the areas of art, history and science and have been making encouraging progress. In the same vein, museums across the globe have made impressive achievements in the past few decades.

     Leaping into the second decade of the 21st century, museums around the world are now witnessing fast-paced changes - changes brought about by shifting demographics, rising expectations, advancing technologies and increasing competition from pastime alternatives. As the theme of the Summit suggests, museums have entered a new era. While facing a whole new series of challenges in their own social, political and economic context, individual museums have no choice but to keep re-evaluating and redefining their roles, their hardware, software and programmes. Whilst museums have long been recognised as repositories of knowledge and the vanguard of cultural heritage, how can we further transform and maintain museums as cultural institutions that truly inspire and educate, nourish minds and spirits, enrich lives and create healthy communities? How can we make museum visits a pleasant and memorable experience, engaging the wider community to unlock and appreciate the museum treasures, and letting the community feel the presence and impact beyond the physical confines of the museum premises? How should museums keep up their scholarly activities to discover, preserve and promote heritage and knowledge for our generations and generations to come? How best can we maintain the future viability, relevance and sustainability of museums? These are some of the key questions that are best answered by experts like you. Through exchanges and partnerships, together we can share insight, identify best practices and forge closer collaboration and hopefully transform our ideas into action for the benefit of humankind.

     Hong Kong, with our unique geographical position as a cultural hub where East meets West, is committed to assuming the role of "super-connector" by acting as a platform for professional exchange among overseas museums and institutions on heritage conservation and museum practice. During this two-day summit, leading figures from world-renowned museums of different streams, including art, history and science across different continents, will enlighten us with their ventures, experiences and thoughts on various themes. Their valuable insights will definitely provide food for thought for museum professionals to formulate future blueprints in the 21st century.

     I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Palace Museum for its ardent support to the Summit and our museums in Hong Kong. We have witnessed the impressive transformation of the Palace Museum under the leadership of Director Shan Jixiang. It is not only a UNESCO World Heritage Site that houses numerous priceless treasures, it has also become a museum with a heart, dedicated itself to offering a heart-warming experience for its visitors.

     Hong Kong's long-term collaboration with the Palace Museum could be traced back to a decade ago when the blockbuster exhibition "The Pride of China" was co-organised by the two sides to mark the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the HKSAR. I am most pleased to see that since then the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and the Palace Museum have been co-organising theme-based mega exhibitions almost every year including two key exhibitions to be held in the next few days to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the HKSAR. The "Hall of Mental Cultivation of The Palace Museum - Imperial Residence of Eight Emperors" exhibition to be opened at the Heritage Museum this Wednesday (June 28) features over 200 representative exhibits of political, historical and cultural importance in the history of the Qing dynasty. As regards the "Longevity and Virtues: Birthday Celebrations of the Qing Emperors and Empress Dowagers" exhibition, it showcases over 200 sets of precious treasures showing cultural significance of birthday celebrations in China and respect for the aged, and will be presented from this coming Sunday (July 2). I strongly encourage everyone of you especially our guests from abroad to visit these unique exhibitions.

     Hong Kong is an international cultural metropolis with a distinct identity grounded in Chinese traditions. By presenting the invaluable collections of the Palace Museum and its rich history, these highly acclaimed exhibitions have strengthened our cultural ties. I believe that with the inception of the Hong Kong Palace Museum in 2022, our position as a cultural hub will be further enhanced.

     My sincere gratitude goes to the key personalities and representatives of various museums from the Mainland and overseas who came from a long way to share with us their expertise and experience. With all the inspirations and insights gained from these exchanges, I am sure that museum professionals around the world will work together to bring their museums to new heights in the new era.

     On this note, ladies and gentlemen, may I wish the Museum Summit a tremendous success and everyone here a fruitful experience.
Ends/Monday, June 26, 2017
Issued at HKT 10:50
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The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, officiated at the opening of the Museum Summit - Museums in a New Era at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre this morning (June 26). Photo shows Mr Cheung delivering welcoming remarks.
The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, officiated at the opening of the Museum Summit - Museums in a New Era at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre this morning (June 26). Photo shows Mr Cheung (front row, eight left); the Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Ms Michelle Li (front row, first left); the Director of the Palace Museum, Dr Shan Jixiang (front row, seventh left); and other guests at the ceremony.

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CS officiates at opening of Museum Summit - Museums in a New Era