Project Details

Comparing the Political Representation of Museums in Hong Kong and Macau after Handover to China

Modern states have long used museums to foster citizenship and national identity. Colonial states used history museums to legitimize their rule by displaying their version of their subjects’ past, such political functions inherited by independent post-colonial states as they forge nation-states and national identities – what about the post-colonial cities with independence? What makes Hong Kong and Macau so interesting to be investigated and compared is that both cities were colonies of European imperialism for centuries and handover to Chinese sovereignty in late 1990s under the political principle of “One-country-two systems”. While developments at the Hong Kong Museum since the handover bear witness to a crucial new role in attempts to promote a state-centered patriotism, Macau Museum displays the city as a dynamic, pluralistic meeting point of “East-meets-West”. Creating the sense of Chinese nationalism and “the end of national humiliation” over modern China mainly rely on the exhibits in Hong Kong Museum, but Macau Museum shoulders the diplomatic function of nurturing friendship with western Europe and Portuguese-language countries. As these museums unfold, they provide a clearer picture of the need and the opportunity to recreate and/or reinvent the past to define, celebrate, or serve the present.

Commencement Date : 2009/7
Completion Date : 2010/6
Chief Investigator(s) : Dr LAW, Kam Yee 羅金義 [SSC]

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