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The Sam Tung Uk Museum is a branch of the Hong Kong Museum of History. It was a Hakka clan’s fortified village that was originally built in 1786. Life in those times was dangerous with bandits and clans fighting and stealing from each other, so the families and clans had to fortify their houses and villages. This little village was built symmetrically and compactly. The little area was vacated in 1980, and the Hong Kong government declared it a historical monument in 1981 and converted it into a museum in 1986 and 1987. Visitors can enjoy the museum’s facilities by seeing the artifacts in the display hall and touring the village and learn about the life of people in Hong Kong 200 years ago.
The museum has some restored rooms including the main central religious shrine, a meeting room and an entry gate. A lecture room was constructed for the museum as well as an exhibition hall that has a permanent display of objects that Hakka people used every day such as sickles and baskets. The whole complex covers about 2,000 square meters and there were originally about 60 houses surrounding a shrine building and a meeting building. Houses were arranged along the sides of the village and composed the walls. Their sides formed the wall. This made construction of the village’s wall efficient. The village had small streets that allowed the people to get around inside.
The row of rooms in the back was demolished to make way for the museum’s exhibition hall, offices and lecture room.
The village was built by a clan of Hakka people named Chan. The Hakka are an ethnic minority people. The clan originated in Fujian Province and moved to Guangdong Province and then south to Hong Kong. They were farmers, but the soil was poor. To protect themselves from thieves and attacks, they built this fortified village about 1786.
During the 1940s, business people from China escaping the Japanese and the revolution started building factories in the area.
1. Learn about life of the Hakka people in the village 200 years ago.
The museum is close to Kowloon and Tsim Sha Tsui. In Tsim Sha Tsui there are a variety of highlights including the main Hong Kong Museum of History, the Museum of Art, the fun Science Museum that has a lot of hands of displays for kids and the Space Museum where people can see a life-sized mock-up of the front end section of the American Space Shuttle. So if you want to learn more about Hong Kong, you can tour these other museums.