The most popular exhibition: "Eternal Life – Exploring Ancient Egypt" (Leisure and Cultural Services Department)
Museum Director (Science Museum), Leisure and Cultural Services Department, CHAN Shuk-man, Paulina said, "The Hong Kong Science Museum explores around the world every year for spectacular exhibitions to bring to the citizens of Hong Kong."
"We encountered many difficulties, such as the regulation of temperature and humidity. Throughout the exhibition venue, we had to maintain a consistent temperature and humidity. We realised that there was not enough space at our Special Exhibition Hall. Therefore, we removed some exhibits from our Exhibition Hall temporarily so as to extend the exhibition space. The government has years of experience and established procedures in hosting exhibitions. But how do we give a facelift and bring a whole new experience to the public? We have to introduce new elements with our innovative spirit."
CHAN Shuk-man, Paulina added, "We must have the vision and passion to bring high quality cultural events and exhibitions to the citizens of Hong Kong."
The project, the exhibition on "Eternal Life – Exploring Ancient Egypt", was primarily managed by Paulina and the Curatorial officers of the Science Museum. The exhibition is so far the most popular exhibition of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, attracting over 0.85 million visitors. Let’s see how they went the extra mile in using innovation to create the “world-class” exhibition.
Exhibitions on Egyptian mummies are mostly presented from historical and archaeological perspectives. The Hong Kong Science Museum and The British Museum jointly organised the exhibition on “Eternal Life – Exploring Ancient Egypt” in 2017, using a scientific approach to unveil the myth about the eternal life of the ancient mummies.
Paulina said, "Throughout the year, the Hong Kong Science Museum constantly looks out for spectacular exhibition items from around the world to present them to the enjoyment of Hong Kong people. A few years ago, we learnt that The British Museum had done some novel research on the mummies of
ancient Egypt. On knowing that we were going to organise this exhibition, we realised that cultural relics was the key to understand the historical background of the exhibits. Then we brainstormed ideas and used innovative thinking to explore ways to make this exhibition a whole new experience for the public."
During the exhibition, the exterior setting of the Science Museum was a replicate of an ancient Egyptian shrine.
The then Designer I (Science), WONG Yin-yiu, Angela said, "Due to the original design of the Science Museum, we could not turn it into a pyramid. We conducted lots of research and found that shrine was of great importance in ancient Egypt. We hoped to create for the audience an ambience of making a pilgrimage when they visited the Science Museum."
Paulina added, "We encountered quite a lot of difficulties. The British Museum is a world class museum. They have a very high standard for handling the cultural relics. They set stringent requirements in many aspects, such as the ambience temperature, humidity control, lighting arrangement at the venue, and even the air-tightness of the display cases."
Technical Officer I (Science) Mechanical Engineering, CHAN Kim-fung said, "We all know how rarely in Hong Kong we have a relative humidity below 40%. We adopted a lot of measures. Our museum is not built for storing cultural relics, and our air conditioning system is a bit old without humidity control function. Therefore, we had to add a fresh air regulating function in our air conditioning system, to help control the humidity level of the exhibition halls."
From venue setup, lighting design to the display of textual explanation, we hoped to bring to visitors an entirely new experience. For example, this multimedia programme, crafted by animations and 3D mapping technology, was the first of its kind among similar exhibitions worldwide.
In addition to the original exhibits and textual explanations, to facilitate better understanding of the structure of the mummies from a scientific perspective, the Science Museum borrowed from a supplier a medical CT Scan. They used it to illustrate from a scientific perspective how archaeologists and other specialists applied non-intrusive method to determine the age and sex of the mummified bodies. Other themes, such as diet, health conditions, mummification process and religious customs of the ancient Egyptians were included.
Curator (Science), CHUNG Chun-wah, Kelvin said, "In conjuring up this event, we wanted to introduce new elements. Then we came up with the idea of the “Escape Room”, which was something we never did before, and it was quite well received. The content of the “Escape Room”revolved around the information shown in the exhibition. We hoped that the visitors could make use of the information as clues to solve the puzzles, and then escape from the room."
Paulina said, "The British Museum is a world class museum. We were contemplating how we could craft an exhibition suitable for Hong Kong people. We have put a lot of thoughts in designing the event, apart from the treatment of the cultural relics. I believe that colleagues in the museum need to have a vision and a passion for bringing high quality cultural activities and exhibitions to the people of Hong Kong."
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