The first thing Mr. Herklots suggested was finding:
"a young man of British nationality, enthusiastic, widely qualified, with specialist knowledge in one branch, artistic, capable of using his hands and willing to learn Chinese.You see, the threadbare museums of those days were often enhanced by gifts of dubious quality from dilettante collectors in the merchant class that had little comprehensive education into the qualities of fine arts or rare handicrafts.
(i) an honours degree of a British University, subjects studied to include at least two of the following:- Zoology, Botany, Geology, Archaeology, Anthropology, or some other approved subject.
(ii) a diploma or certificate given by the Museums Association...
The qualifications suggested above need not be rigidly enforced if a man with other qualifications and with high recommendations is available... The salary must be sufficiently attractive encourage the right type of applicant for the post...We consider that the absolute minimum commencing salary to be offered should be 450 pounds, exclusive of house allowance or house, in order to encourage the right type of applicant...
The Curator must be givent he absolute power of refusal of gifts and loans. If this is not his then quantities of un-wanted material will accumulate...."
But the most amusing thing about the report was its liberal quotation of a Museums Association report in 1933 made on request of the Carnegie Corporation:"Hong Kong, in fact, represents the low-water mark in museum provision throughout the whole of the Empire, excepting only the smaller islands of the Pacific and some of the more backward African territories."
Herklots and his collaborators expand on this more in the appendix to the report, as follows:
Mention has already been made of the fact that Hong Kong represents the low-water mark in museum provision throughout the whole of the Empire, excepting only the smaller islands of the Pacific and some of the more backward African territories, but this statement, sweeping as it is, is not sufficient to give a general idea of the museum backwardness of this Colony. It is true there was a small museum in the City Hall building which existed precariously from 1874 to 1933, but even this has now disappeared, and the Hong Kong authorities generously presented part fo the collections to a Portuguese Museum in Macao and to other institutions. In the same City Hall building there was a library consisting mainly of 19th century books in a very poor state; some of the more valuable books and many of the less valuable have been attacked by pests of all kinds, and even the recent attempt of the British Museum authorities to have proper precautionary methods taken may prove to be too late. The University, the Hong Kong Club and the Helena May Institute have libraries open to their members, and there is a fine Chinese library in the University, but apart from these there is little public library provision. When it is realised that the population of the Colony is 841,000 and its area just under 400 square miles, or three to four times that of Malta, it will be realized how lacking in certain cultural amenities is this Colony.Well, a rather damning indictment if I may say so. In Herklot's report we have a rather candid exposition of the poor state (if not the causes) of the museum in Hong Kong. Of course this situation has been remedied - Hong Kong now has a host of museums and libraries. While the public library system is well-used though, the local museums are still under-utilized by the public and also by tourists given the major advances in scope, breadth, depth and quality.
Part of it is that the city has never been a sentimental one, and for much of its history was one that was by and for immigrants, whose true feelings of identity lay somewhere else. Certainly it was true before the War. The story of the Colony is also not likely to ever inspire patriotism, unless certain things like opium were somehow magically excised out of the annals - an impossible task.