The origin of the collection now hosted within the HKBM remains at this point unclear as no archives appear to be available. Most likely, the first specimens were collected by former professorial staff and students of the University of Hong Kong within various parts of the world and put together to serve as primary material for the study of various disciplines of biology (e.g. anatomy, evolution, zoological diversity…) as well as teaching material for students majoring in the Zoology and later in the Ecology and Biodiversity majors. Unfortunately, at this point no records have been found to indicate whose initiative and contributors helped in the creation of this unique collection within Hong Kong, with some of its oldest specimens dating from the early 1920’s.
In 1998, when the School of Biological Sciences moved to its current location, most of the collection was then placed on the south wing of the second floor of the Kadoorie Biological Sciences Building, where it still resides today. Other specimens, however, were scattered in different rooms and in different conditions of preservation, with little or no indications of curation taken. For years, the collection remained thus dormant and mainly used for teaching purposes…
In 2014, after joining HKU then as an Assistant Professor, Dr. Benoit Guénard, volunteered to curate the existing collection and to develop it to serve various roles in education, research and to revitalize the depository of specimen functions that characterize museums. He then consolidated the collection by gathering the various scattered specimens into a single location, started reorganizing the collection and to develop collaborations with colleagues within the School of Biological Sciences, including Prof. Yvonne Sadovy and Dr. Billy Hau, and beyond. First supported by the School of Biological Sciences, the Faculty of Science of HKU, the purchase of new cabinets allowed the expansion of the existing collection. In the following years, several projects and workshops, collaborations, grants and donations from the
Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, the Lung Fu Shan Environmental Education Centre, Globe Creative, New World Development (Nature Discovery Park in K11 Musea), the Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden and the University Museum and Art Gallery of HKU supported the development of the collection, the recruitment of staff and the purchase of new infrastructures.
Over the past few years, a dusty set of specimens has been turned into a rejuvenated collection, enriched by the contributions from several donors to make the Hong Kong Biodiversity Museum a novel institution within Hong Kong. In the coming months, the new team of the HKBM will work tirelessly to provide a unique experience, both virtually and in person, into the incredible and fascinating biodiversity of Hong Kong and Asia. Come and join us in this incredible journey to explore and protect our biological heritage.