Gallery 1 - Military Presence under Successive Dynasties

This is a chronicle of Hong Kong's coastal defence installations during successive dynasties in China. It looks at Tuen Mun's role in defence from the Tang Dynasty onward, the southern retreat of the boy emperors of the Song Dynasty, the military presence during the Yuan Dynasty, and some of the coastal defence fortifications in the Hong Kong area in the Ming and Qing Dynasties.


Qing Dynasty Cream-coloured Satin Armour
Southern Ming Dynasty Iron Cannon

Gallery 2 - Unequal Treaties and the Cession of Hong Kong

We will take you on a journey through Hong Kong during the 19th century in the context of foreign powers' invasion of China. Through the waging of wars, the British took control of ‘Hong Kong' as we know it today in three phases: Hong Kong Island, Kowloon Peninsula and Stonecutters Island, and the New Territories.

Model of British East India Company iron steamer Nemesis 1:55
When the British took possession of Hong Kong Island, they quickly encamped on the shore. Naval ships were moored in Victoria Harbour.

Gallery 3 - Military Arrangements

This gallery tells the story of how the British fortified Hong Kong for more than a century. The narrative is divided into several parts: military establishments in the 1840s and 1850s, Hong Kong's significance in defending British interests in the Far East, changes in coastal batteries at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, British preparations for war with Japan, and arrangements after the Second World War to strengthen Hong Kong's defence.

Drawing of Stanley Barracks, 1860
The Naval Dockyard at today's Admiralty, 1870s–1880s.
Field Battery of the Hong Kong Volunteer Corps at Lai Chi Kok, 1890s.
British Royal Air Force (RAF) Sergeant's Service Dress during the Second World War

Gallery 4 - Port Facilities

Hong Kong is located at the Pearl River estuary and along the passage to the East and South China Seas. Britain coveted Hong Kong for its strategic value in naval warfare and transformed Hong Kong into a naval base. This gallery narrates the relevant historical background, the hospital ships and receiving ships that were at anchor in Victoria Harbour for a long period, the dockyards for provisioning and refitting naval ships, and selected examples of famous naval ships that called at Hong Kong.


Emblem of Naval Shore Station HMS Tamar
Aerial Photo in November 1924, showing Lyemun Fort at the bottom left
British-made 15X Telescope, Used by the British Navy
HMS Victor Emmanuel, a British Second Rate Ship of the Line, 1886

Gallery 5 - The Volunteers

This gallery tells the story of the Hong Kong Volunteers, from their commencement in 1854 to their final disbandment in 1995 and looks into the Volunteers' origins, services and contributions, and highlight the esprit de corps that has pervaded generations of Volunteers.


L7 General Purpose Machine Gun, Used by the RHKR(V)
Members of the Nursing Detachment at Fanling Camp, 1935.
Photograph from the collection of the late Mrs Joan Fuller, now in the possession of Jason Wordie.
Commemorative Brochure of the Volunteers' Centenary
A Sud Aviation Alouette III helicopter of the HKAAF in action, 1960s.
Regimental Drum of the RHKR(V)

Gallery 6 - Multi-Ethnic Soldiers

This is an account of a bygone era when the Hong Kong garrison embraced a diversity of races: British, Chinese, Indian and Nepalese, etc. Drawing on a collection of military artefacts, along with archival records and personal tales, the gallery tells the story of a multifarious army that is now reminiscent of a past age.


Arm Badge of the HKMSC
British officers and Indian soldiers, all wearing turbans, 1930s.
Battle Drill for Thick Jungle, 1943
War Office Leaflet Titled The Hong Kong Garrison, Featuring British, Chinese and Nepalese Gurkha Soldiers on the Cover, 1997

Gallery 7 - Narrative of the War of Resistance

The September 18 Incident in 1931 lifted the curtain on China's war of Resistance against Japanese Aggression. The residents of Hong Kong supported the resistance efforts in various ways. The Hong Kong and Kowloon Independent Brigade of the East River Column fiercely resisted the aggressors, and China eventually won the war. This gallery narrates the history of Japan's aggression against China and Hong Kong's participation in the War of Resistance, paying tribute to the heroes who died in the war.


The Brigade marching, c. 1945.
A wooden boat used in combat by the Marine Detachment of the Brigade.
Hong Kong came under bombardment during the Second World War.
6-inch Armour Piercing Shell

Gallery 8 - Join Hands to Resist Japanese Invasion

From the early 1930s, the Japanese militarists expanded their aggression in China, and waged a full-scale war in 1937. After the fall of Guangzhou in 1938, Hong Kong was also under the threat of a Japanese invasion. In 1939, war broke out in Europe. Before the fall of Hong Kong in December 1941, Hong Kong contributed a lot to the war effort.


Necklace with Bullet Pendant
On Loan from Mr Andrew Chan
British Service Dress Cap Made by Local Factory ‘Wai Lam Tailor and Hat Maker', 1930s
Annual Report of the China Defence League (English Version), 1939–1940 (Replica)

Gallery 9 - Japanese Invasion of Hong Kong

This gallery offers an account of Hong Kong's preparations for war before the Battle for Hong Kong in 1941, the course of the battle, and the experience of the prisoners of war.


Gas Mask
Pillbox at the junction of Queen's Road East and Hennessy Road, shortly before the battle in 1941.
POWs marching to POW camps guarded by Japanese soldiers after the fall of Hong Kong on 25 December 1941.
Air-raid Siren

Gallery 10 - Anti-Japanese Guerrillas behind Enemy Lines

This gallery depicts the underground resistance in Hong Kong during the Japanese occupation and the allied counterattack. It provides a deeper understanding of Hong Kong as a backstage battlefield.


POW Letters Hidden in the Lid of a Food Jar, 9 February 1942 (Replica)
Mauser M712 Rapid Fire Pistol, Used by Members of the Hong Kong and Kowloon Independent Brigade
Hollow Wooden Bolt, Used by BAAG Personnel to Carry Secret Messages (Replica)
BAAG Intelligence Drawings (Replica)
This drawing shows a Japanese anti-aircraft battery in Hong Kong.
General Ritchie, representing the British Army, presents a pennant bearing the Chinese words for ‘Loyalty, Courage, Honesty and Love' to the Sai Kung villagers on 12 April 1947 in honour of their contribution to the Allied war effort.

Gallery 11 - The Chinese People's Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison

This gallery is on the Chinese People's Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison (Hong Kong Garrison). Since July 1997, the Hong Kong Garrison has taken over the military facilities from the British forces and became the garrison of Hong Kong.


Model of the Liaoning, China's aircraft carrier 1:350
Stationing of the PLA Hong Kong Garrison in Hong Kong Souvenir Cover, issued on 1 July 1997.
Wooden Emblem of the South Sea Fleet of the PLA Navy

Lyemun Fort Gallery

This gallery unveils the story of this unique coastal fort dating back to its establishment in 1887 at Lyemun Pass. This display highlights why Lyemun was selected as the site for a fort, the military facilities in and around the area, the life of the soldiers who were stationed here, what happened to the fort during the war in 1941 and in the decades following the war. The fort has been conserved as the Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence.


3-inch Mortar Shell, 1940s.
Layout plan of Lyemun Redoubt drawn by the War Office, 1908. The use of casemates and caponiers is explained in detail.