• University Museum and Art Gallery (UMAG)
  • The University of Hong Kong
  • 94 Bonham Road, Hong Kong
  • Tel: 2241-5500
  • Monday to Saturday
  • 9:30am to 6:00pm
  • Sunday
  • 1:00 to 6:00pm
  • Free Admission


The exhibition encompasses three themes:

  • Alexandre Yersin, the great scientist, and his lifetime of accomplishments
  • Infectious diseases that have affected Hong Kong, from 1894 to today
  • Infectious diseases and our human immune system

The Friends of the Institut Pasteur in Hong Kong, the University Museum and Art Gallery, and the Consulate General of France in Hong Kong and Macau are pleased to present an exhibition that celebrates the 120th anniversary of the Institut Pasteur through the life and work of the remarkable Pasteurian scientist, Alexandre Yersin, who dedicated his life to fighting infectious diseases in Asia.

The story of the 1894 plague in Hong Kong is little known to the public, and understandably many believe that it is old stuff that would be best forgotten, since half of the population fled Hong Kong in complete disarray.

However, not only is the plague a re-emerging disease, but the 1894 Plague was a turning point in the adoption of Western medicine in Hong Kong, and definitely a considerable factor in the cross-culture relations that have shaped this city into an international hub.
In an odd way, the plague bacillus had very much to do with the East-meet-West culture.

At the centre of this event is Alexandre Yersin whose life is an incredible story of scientific excellence, humanism, and is very inspiring for all ages. Yersin was sent to Hong Kong in 1894 to investigate an epidemic of bubonic plague that was taking hundreds of lives. Working from a makeshift straw hut laboratory in Kennedy Town, he identified the plague bacillus that now bears his name, Yersinia pestis.

The exhibition explores the history of infectious diseases in Hong Kong from the plague of 1894 to the present day, and the challenges that virologists continue to face today. The exhibition also shows the importance of global collaboration in the identification and prevention of deadly epidemics, such as dengue fever, avian influenza, and SARS. Yersin's organisation, the Institut Pasteur, and their international research networks include the HKU-Pasteur Research Centre's collaboration with the University's Department of Microbiology, the team that isolated the SARS virus.

This exhibition is a timely reminder of the lifesaving scientific medical collaboration between France and Hong Kong, and its implications for world health.