Celebrating the Lee Kai Hung Chinese Culture Gallery opening

On Thursday, 27 April 2023 a special event was held at the Manchester Museum to mark the opening with sponsor Dr Lee Kai Hung and invited guests.

The Lee Kai Hung Chinese Culture Gallery is the first permanent gallery devoted to Chinese culture in the history of Manchester Museum. Its aim is to promote empathy and understanding between the people of the UK and China.

The celebration event gathered together contributors, staff and members of the city’s Chinese communities to mark Dr Lee’s formal opening of the Lee Kai Hung Chinese Culture gallery. Following a ribbon-cutting ceremony, there were speeches by our President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Nancy Rothwell, former City of Manchester Deputy Lieutenant Gerry Young (speaking on behalf of Dr Lee) and Manchester Museum Director Esme Ward. 

The speakers highlighted the importance of empathy in promoting intercultural understanding, especially at a time of rising geopolitical tensions. The assistance and guidance provided by the Manchester China Institute and its director Professor Peter Gries have been crucial. This institution is also funded by Dr Lee.

At a special dinner, guests toasted Dr Lee’s generosity and vision. Dr Lee was presented with a model of the moon gate which greets visitors to the Gallery, and includes Dr Lee’s poignant quote:

If there is no dialogue, there is no understanding 

If there is no understanding, there is no trust 

If there is no trust, there is no harmony 

If there is no harmony, there is no peace.

More about the Lee Kai Hung Chinese Cultural Gallery

Showcasing rarely seen collections, and drawing on powerful personal narratives, this exciting new Gallery explores the rich legacy of the relationship and enduring links between Manchester and China. It has been informed by the research of our academics and international collaborations, and it offers a nuanced understanding of Chinese culture that includes natural history as well as the humanities.

Outstanding objects include a milu deer or si bu xiang (“four not alike”), a species rescued from the brink of extinction thanks to international collaboration. And loans from the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester Art Gallery and the John Rylands library include beautifully embroidered textiles, exquisitely carved jade artefacts, porcelain vases and an astonishing 20-metre-long scroll. 

The result is a visually stunning experience further enhanced by designers Imagemakers‘ sympathetic colour scheme. The Gallery highlights personal stories of migration, friendships and collaboration to inspire empathy and build understanding.