The “ceremonial character” of the hall inside the building has a resemblance to those of the “Tze Tongs” (places where people housed the spirit-tablets of their ancestors) in the southern Chinese villages. The God of Shennong who is recognized as the discoverer of herbal medicine is enshrined in the centre of the hall. It symbolizes that the Group has started her charity work by upholding the mission of healing the sick with the provision of free medical services to the needy. The suanzhi wood furniture kept in the main hall has been used since 1911. Besides, the display of numerous plaques and couplets presented to Tung Wah shows the public’s recognition of the Group’s contributions to the society.
Ceremonial features of the main hall
Performing good deeds with others: the philanthropic vision of the TWGHs
The Tung Wah Group of Hospitals is the longest-standing and largest non-profit organisation in Hong Kong and boasts the most diverse range of services. Tracing its roots back to the original Tung Wah Hospital, it has evolved from a local charity into a modern community services organisation, bearing witness along the way to the development of Hong Kong society and playing a unique role in establishing and maintaining links between overseas Chinese and their homeland. Through its provision of services in a variety of areas, Tung Wah has proved itself to be a highly flexible organisation that adheres to firmly rooted principles with a strong humanitarian focus. Over time, its unique philanthropic vision has contributed to overcome all the challenges of the different eras. Titled “Performing good deeds with others: the philanthropic vision of the TWGHs”, the permanent exhibition showcases how Tung Wah has grown alongside Hong Kong throughout decades on medical, education and social welfare services as well as fundraising activities since 1870.
Exhibition Room II
The historical records preserved by the TWGHs are so comprehensive that they are thought by some to be the most complete archives held by any local organisation. Quite a number of academics conduct research into Tung Wah’s historical records and artefacts as an aid to their recreation of old Hong Kong and in particular to their understanding of the early social history of Chinese people in the territory. The exhibition in Xin Hai Tang introduces the conservation of the museum building and Tung Wah archives over the years, elucidates the importance of the uniquely preserved Tung Wah Coffin Home Archives.