MUSEUM 2050 Dispatches

Updates from the Hong Kong Palace Museum

Danny Ching

It has been months since the work from home arrangements were first announced. During
this period, the number of infected in Hong Kong surged to a new high, forcing a number of
museums and institutions to adjust plans for exhibitions and public events. It was surreal to
see Hong Kong, an international metropolis which has always been enlivened by an
abundance of wonderful world-class art festivals and cultural events, being so quiet. Annual
highlights such as Art Basel, Art Central, and Fine Art Asia, were cancelled. Live houses and
music bars have not been allowed to open their doors for an extended period. It was
completely unthinkable that life in Hong Kong could be so bleak and so dull.

Many friends and professionals from the art and culture industry lovers have expressed
their curiosity on the work arrangements during COVID-19. Since there are no ongoing
exhibitions or events for a to-be-completed museum, work routine has not been too greatly
affected, despite many meetings and lectures were shifted online. The only not so pleasant
experience, perhaps, is that I never had the chance to meet face to face nor get to know the
new colleagues who joined the team during the pandemic. I feel that I owe them a big warm
welcome.

Fortunately enough, today marks the day of which I return to the usual workplace for the
first time in two months. As you can all see, my desk is piled up with all kinds of stuff
distributed by diligent colleagues who have worked incessantly in office voluntarily. The
most eye-catching item of all must be the safety equipment for visiting the construction
site. It seems that it would take me quite a while to tidy up. I am thrilled and excited to be
back, perhaps even more so compared to my first day of work. After all, we are human
beings who treasure interpersonal interactions, and we have been so isolated and worried
during the quarantine period.

While I hope the situation would return to normal gradually, I would like to extend a warm
invitation to all of you, as the Hong Kong Palace Museum is slated to open in mid-2022, a
not-so-distant future. The museum offers a Hong Kong perspective and a global vision,
presenting the finest objects from the Palace Museum and other leading cultural
institutions around the world, providing an enthralling account for the Forbidden City and
beyond. Stay tuned for our pre-opening events and exhibitions and I look forward to
receiving all of you when the museum officially opens.

About the Author:

Danny Ching is Assistant Curator at the Hong Kong Palace Museum. He is based in Hong Kong.

About the Series:

Museum 2050 has always been about bringing people together through our community’s shared passion for museums and institutional development. As the world slowly and carefully starts reopening, we are checking in weekly with various members of our broader network to share personal reflections, anecdotes and musings about how they and their institutions have been operating in the face of this pandemic. In these incredibly difficult times for all, we hope that these brief vignettes from around the world bring us closer together, and remind us that even when the world stops and museum doors close, we still persevere.