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University Museum at SKKU: A New Friend for Kingos

People can learn about history through visiting museums. And, when it comes to Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU), there is a university museum where Kingos can feel the flow of history of SKKU in their daily routines. Most Kingos, however, might not be aware of the university museum and probably have no idea that the museum exists. The Sungkyun Times (SKT) now introduces what the museum at SKKU is, analyzes the causes of its low visitor rates, and suggests some solutions to improve the use of the museum.

What Is the University Museum at SKKU?

Basic Information About the University Museum at SKKU

Characteristics and Significance of the University Museum at SKKU

Founded in 1964, the university museum at SKKU has a long history. The museum aims to become an energizer and nourishment for the lives of Kingos. It not only holds exhibitions but actively conducts historical research by itself. In fact, it has been consistently participating in various excavation projects all over the country since 1969.

School History Section in Permanent Exhibition

There are two types of exhibitions in the museum: a permanent exhibition and a special exhibition. The permanent exhibition is divided into eight sections including a school history section and a Confucian culture section. The school history section is the place where SKKU’s history of 600 years is preserved. The section shows the school history through the four periods of foundation, establishment, development and the final leap of SKKU. It creates an environment with the aim of succeeding and developing the spirit of Sungkyunkwan today. For example, the school emblems and parts of brick from the front gates that were once used are exhibited, which can provide memories of past days. Other sections show the whole history of the country by exhibiting various relics from prehistoric to modern times. Among them, Geunmuk and Takbon are the most representative collections.

Geunmuk refers to 34 books which contain various sayings from ancesters.
An example of Takbon, which means rubbing of an inscription, is in the university museum at SKKU.

In other words, the permanent exhibition provides Kingos with an opportunity to learn about both peaceful and tragic moments in Korean history. Besides, the museum has held several special exhibitions every year, which have shown a variety of cultural paradigms and helped to broaden the artistic sense of Kingos. For the same purpose, the 37th special exhibition, “Homo Examicus,” has been going on since September 14th. The main point of the exhibition is to emphasize the close relationship between humans and exams.

Why Are Kingos Not Aware of the University Museum?

Despite the values of the university museum, it is still an unfamiliar place to most Kingos for the following reasons.

Lack of Variety in Contents

It is a lack of variety in contents that has mainly caused the low rate of visitors to the museum. Compared to museums located at other universities, the museum at SKKU has not only low accessibility but also a limited type and number of collections. This gives visitors only a vague impression of the museum when they visit it. In fact, the special exhibitions are the only unique contents of the museum other than the permanent exhibition. Even though the special exhibitions have been consistently held on campus, they are mostly held only once a year. That is, the current contents provided by the museum are not impressive enough to Kingos. Therefore, it is required for the museum to escape from the current image of boredom and prepare more various contents, allowing Kingos to use the museum more actively than before.

Lack of Promotion

Also, lack of promotion is another cause of the low visitor rate. There are almost no promotions by the museum other than putting posters up for special exhibitions on noticeboards in school buildings. Furthermore, as the posters are likely to be covered by others, they shortly become hard to be noticed. This is why even Kingos who know about the existence of the museum have hardly seen any exhibitions in person. Also, the website of the museum, where Kingos can get information about the museum most easily, seems neglected and not properly managed. Even though there are several categories on the website, there is almost no content in each category. In fact, questions which were uploaded onto the questions and answers (Q&A) board a year ago have not been answered yet. In addition, promotions are not conducted on the Natural Sciences Campus unlike the Humanities and Social Sciences Campus where the museum is located. As a result of lacking promotion, only a few Kingos on the Natural Sciences Campus, therefore, are aware of the museum.

An Official Website for the University Museum at SKKU

What Are the Solutions for a Better University Museum?

Development of Various Contents
Except for both permanent and special exhibitions, the museum is required to develop various contents that Kingos can participate in. Providing a docent service could be effective for this purpose. A docent is a person who explains about the collections at a museum or an art gallery. With docents, more information and knowledge can be conveyed than when visitors just see exhibitions by themselves. For example, at the
Seoul National University Museum, a group of visitors can make a reservation for a docent tour at the museum. Furthermore, another solution is to conduct education programs in the museum. A museum should be a place which allows people to learn more about history with various education programs. Introducing such programs will encourage both Kingos and local residents to visit the museum more. For instance, Seoul national University Museum holds a program about liberal artsevery Wednesday, which everyone can apply to join. In cooperation with the government, the participation rate of the liberal art programs has been high since the program started. Like this, the university museum at SKKU can develop its own unique programs, taking advantage of its proximity to a very valuable historic site, Sungkyunkwan.

Introduction of Various Means for Promotion
Through the introduction of various means for promoting the university museum at SKKU, Kingos can become more aware of the existence of the museum. First, it is necessary to diversify the way of promoting special exhibitions, which can attract Kingos’ attentions more effectively. For instance, a text message service from the school can notify Kingos
about the exhibitions. Kingo-M, the smartphone application for Kingos, can also be used for the same purposes. Moreover, promotions of the permanent exhibition have to be conducted more actively. For instance, a pamphlet about the museum can be distributed at official school events like the entrance ceremony. Using these new methods of promotion, Kingos on both campuses might become more interested in the museum and be willing to visit in person.

A Message from the Curator of the University Museum at SKKU
The university museum at SKKU is where many people including Kingos can enjoy the moment of learning about Korean culture and history. Despite its relatively small scale, the museum has plenty of special features. There are several relics donated by others, and the
museum even produces many collections which do not currently exist through historical investigation and talent donations by professors at SKKU. They are, therefore, relics that can be found only here in the museum at SKKU. Of course, our staff knows that there are already many great museums to visit in Seoul. We, however, are trying to distinguish ourselves from other museums by promoting the museum with various special exhibitions. So, we hope that Kingos will take the opportunity to visit and support our museum.

While spending a lot of time on the Humanities and Social Sciences Campus, many Kingos may be unaware about the culture and history of their school. Even though enough promotion and contents cannot be provided now, the university museum at SKKU still has a lot of possibilities for development. It is, therefore, a great idea for Kingos to visit the museum. The museum will give them a special time to refresh their busy lives. The museum is always open to Kingos.

이수연  pim545@skku.edu

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