About Us

For many years at HKU, as has been common with other great schools, there was no professional archives and records management program at HKU and this led, as it inevitably does, to a situation where the records of our history were scattered across campuses, kept under very poor conditions for preservation, often completely inaccessible to researchers, or indeed, the staff of that department or college, and frequently lost through neglect, mishandling, or destruction.

Fortunately this situation was recognized by the University and a group called the Archives Working Group was formed by the recommendation of the Senior Management Team in 2003. The Archives Working Group, which is now know as the Archives Advisory Group, works to assist the University Archivist in building an Archives and Records Management Program (ARM) here at HKU. It was composed of the former Registrar, Mr. Henry Wai, the former University Librarians, Mr. Tony Ferguson and Mr. Peter Sidorko, the History Department, Dr. Peter Cunich, the former Director of the University Museum and Art Gallery, Mr. C.T. Yeung, and its current Director, Dr. Florian Knothe.

The Archives Working Group asked a number of consultants to study the situation here. The detailed report given by Randall Jimerson, a former President of the Society of American Archivists, resulted in the acceptance of a plan “to rescue endangered HKU records and begin the slow development of a full ARM program” (Jimerson , The University of Hong Kong Archives and Records Management Program, 2004)

In July 2006, the first professional University Archivist was hired. The University Archives was also given a "temporary" home on the first floor of the Library’s Main Building. Although the University Archives is an independent centre, a part of the Central Administration of the University, it has been supported by and works closely with the Library, as well as the Registry.

By January of 2009, in just two and a half years, the space donated by the Library was completely full because the Archives had already received more than 1500 linear feet of records, including files, photographs, publications, artifacts, recordings, film, and electronic files. These include the earliest records of the University, which were saved when they were smuggled out of Hong Kong during the War.

In 2009, with the support of the Accommodations Committee and the Budget Recommendations Committee, the University Archives was able to acquire and  retrofit suitable space to expand their collections off campus. The Technology Support Center (TSC), which administered the rehab of the space, also managed the records storage and retrieval service under the direction of the University Archives. Although the TSC was disbanded in 2013 and no longer supports the Archives operations the Archives' space has expanded twice more in the intervening years and now in 2017 is retrofitting another large room in a 3rd expansion of our off campus space.

This Off Site Archives is equipped with 24/7 temperature and humidity control, UVA and UVB protection, CCTV security and electronic card access that is monitored. It has a rigid schedule of maintenance and pest control, designed to keep pests from ever damaging the records stored there.

The collections now exceed 3,000 linear metres.

"When future generations look back to my time, it will probably be similar to how I now think of the past." Wang Xizhi