Exhibitions are like the arrival of a new baby. There may have been months of anxiety and discomfort but once the day arrives, it is hard not to sit back and enjoy the accomplishment. Last Friday a major exhibition entitled Made in Hong Kong – Our City Our Story opened at the Hong Kong Maritime Museum. The exhibition was primarily funded through a generous gift by HSBC.
I was pleased to be part of the team that put this show together. I am also pleased to take some credit for spearheading two of the major components of the show, the Science On the Sphere (SOS) multimedia display and the touchscreen displays for the Trade and Commerce Gallery.
The exhibition designer created the framework. The Trade and Commerce Gallery would be filled with hundreds of items representing different import and export commodities and services of the past 150 years. Positioned in specially designed cabinets – the site is a visual feast for the eyes. Second – the SOS would be placed in the center of the gallery. How to tie it all together?
Although my contributions to the exhibition are bringing multimedia and artifacts together, the key for me in this case is always focus on the story. Without a story, it doesn’t matter how impressive the technology is. Hong Kong’s story is how this small geographic location in Asia became a part of the greater global economy. And not only is it a part, for the past 150 years, it has been a leader.
That’s the story. So all my efforts are to make those connections. Whether it is an ice block that was transported to Hong Kong from New England in the 19th century or Mattel’s Barbie Dolls ® that are shipped through our port all over the world – I put into place a narrative story that brought those desperate things together.
The show will be up for the next six months. I hope you can all visit. I will be handing out cigars in the lobby.