Research on the Military History of Hong Kong during the Colonial Period (1841-1997): Impacts on Museums, Heritage Conservation, and Education

Dr. Kwong Chi Man’s research on the military history of Hong Kong during the Colonial Period (1841-1997) adds long-missing content to museums, influences how Hong Kong history is being taught in schools, and changes the conservation practice for historical military structures in Hong Kong. Through participating in the revamping of local museums, advising on conservation approaches for historical military structures, creating education materials, and providing teachers’ training, his work has changed the public’s understanding of Hong Kong history and raised awareness in the government and the public at large about the importance and benefit of conserving historical military structures in Hong Kong. 

Since 2011, Dr. Kwong Chi Man has studied the military history of Hong Kong, a topic that received public interest but little scholarly attention. His goal has been to construct a systematic narrative on the military history of Hong Kong, and to produce a number of thematic studies on important topics such as the Japanese invasion of 1941 and the subsequent occupation, the role of local Chinese in the colonial garrison, and the important built heritage sites related to this history. The main source of information for the abovementioned works, unlike previous studies that rely almost exclusively on oral history and reminiscences, are archival sources from the United Kingdom, Japan, the United States, China, and Taiwan.

His works serve various non-academic users, including museum curators and administrators; heritage conservationists; archivists; government branches that are responsible for built heritage and civil engineering such as the Antique and Monuments Office (AMO), Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD, which he serves as a member of the advisory committee and a specialist advisor (military history)) Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD), and Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD); departments of the Education Bureau (EDB); reporters and commentators; practitioners of creative industry such as producers, directors, screen writers, documentary directors, and essayists and novelists; local tour-guide companies; and members of the public who are interested in history in general. To serve this large variety of non-academic users, Dr. Kwong engaged in various educational, consultancy, and professional training activities that are related to their academic research, in addition to disseminating their knowledge through academic publications.