ICME News 55, December 2009
1. Words from the President
1. WORDS FROM THE PRESIDENT
2. PEACE IS NEVER NEUTRAL: THE PARTICULAR RESPONSIBILITY OF MUSEUMS OF ETHNOGRAPHY FOR PROMOTING PEACE AND RECONCILIATION
3. COMPARING TWO MINORITY-RECRUITMENT PROGRAMMES
The ICME 2009 Seoul conference provided inspiration on many levels of museums work, and maybe we will be able to arrange international seminars; sharing our experiences and exchange ideas in the field of recruiting people with special
4. 3 DAY POST-CONFERENCE TOUR IN EASTERN SOUTH KOREA
By Galia Gavish and Chavi Feingold
We would like to thank the organizers of the conference and the tour in South Korea. The organization and promptness were excellent. We were very impressed with the singing, music, dance and martial arts shows that exposed us to such a
The culture of design and costume is very rich and colorful. We were especially impressed with the museum design: toned down design in calming colors that enhanced the colorful objects; the art of lighting that lit-up objects with meticulous details - lone objects in small glass cabinets are lit with optic fibers directed on their most interesting part. We are grateful for the opportunity to see and taste the unique, varied Korean culture.
We traveled in three buses on multi-laned highways. We passed over modernistic bridges over wide rivers, among early autumn-colored forested hills. The trees had just started changing color. In between the trees one could now and then see villages with turquoise and bold green roofs, with tended fields and orchards around them. Every now and then we saw hollows with small mounds. I asked Prof. Choi, the archaeologist who is in charge of museums in the Korean Ministry of Culture, and native to the area, about them and he explained they were the villagers' graves. Prof. Choi
We toured the village and saw the traditional houses, for the rich and for the poor. The houses are built from local stone and have tilted tiled roofs, pagoda-like. The houses of the poor have thatched roofs. In front of the houses there are carved wooden screens and gates with the name of the owner written in black Chinese letters. Each house has a garden with flowers and herbs, some planted in pots. Around the houses there are stone and dirt walls, with tiles along the top. Some walls have deep niches where the rich put money for the poor traveler, because tradition says one must not let anyone go hungry. Everybody had to give a third of their profits to the community, so no one would go hungry. Work is a very important fact of life. A young bride wore only cotton clothes for three years, during which she did chores around the house. Only then was she allowed to wear silk. At the center of the village we saw the Wishing tree. Wishes are written on slips of paper and tied on to a string fence around the tree. Very similar to wishing trees in Muslim and Jewish folk traditions. The village was named a World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO.
For dinner that night, at the city of Daegu, we were hosted by the Deputy Cultural Director of the province.
We began the day's tour in Gyodong, Gyeongju, Prof.'s Choi's home village. His family has been living here for many generations. We tasted Gyeongju Gyodongbeopju, a liquor brewed from rice, which is considered an important World Intangible Cultural Property. After drinking some of the sweet liquor we drove to Daereungwon, the site of many royal tombs. The tombs are mounds covered with grass, some seven meters high. Only one is open to the public, Cheonmachong. In it were found amazing objects, many from gold. The originals are at the National Museum in Seoul. In this tomb one can see how the body was laid out in a wooden box, with all the objects needed for a good "life". All this was covered in stones. Over the centuries, the stones were removed, taken as building material. Not far from the existing mound we saw an archaeological dig of uncovered mounds.
After a traditional lunch in a small restaurant, which is itself a museum of anything, modern or old, found in the area, Gyeongju National Museum was our next stop. It is a well-planned, beautiful museum. It has three wings: the Archaeology Hall, the Art Hall and the Anapji Hall. Among the many outstanding objects are many statues of Buddha and his retinue. One is a big Buddha head found by villagers after a mud-slide.
Anapji Pond was our next stop. This was part of a royal palace. In the pond more than 30,000 objects were found, probably thrown in for ceremonial or religious reasons. There was also a big fire there and little remains. The place is a large garden now, and there is a large-scale model reconstruction of the palace, based on small parts of wood and tiles found in the water. From there we went to see the three stories that remain of the Ten-storied Stone Pagoda. The pagoda was harmed during the Mongolian invasion of Korea. Dinner that night was hosted by the mayor, with traditional dance and music performances. Speeches and thanks were given to all the organizes and helpers, who made our stay, at the conference and on the tour, so fantastic.
In the morning we drove up to the mountains. When Buddhism was forbidden, the monks fled to the mountains and many temples, large and small were built.
One of those is the Seokguram Grotto, on Mt. Tohmsan. This is a man-made cave, carved in the granite stone, overlooking mountain ranges all the way to the sea. There are many statues of Bodhisattvas and other deities in the cave, but the main one is a stone statue of Buddha himself, looking over to the East Sea. During the time of the Japanese rule alterations were made. In order to strengthen the cave they took it apart and used concrete, then put it back together, not quite in the right order. A well, at the bottom of the grotto, was blocked. The concrete caused condensation and the water had no place to go. Now there are hidden supports, air-conditioning and it is closed to tourists by a glass wall (believers may enter to pray).
Bulguksa Temple is one of the largest temples in the mountains. It is a large compound with many small temples and study halls, pagodas and shrines. The main building of the National Folk Museum in Seoul is an exact copy of the main temple. The entrance gate to the whole area is called the Gate to Heaven. Many families with children were there (a school holiday) and some children were building small pagodas around a tree and making a wish. Lunch was a personal Bibimbap dinner, a bowl of rice with six or seven different sliced vegetables and a hot sauce.
On the way back to Seoul we stopped in Inchen, for a traditional dinner, the last one together. Inchen is known for its pottery artists, and we went to see one of the work shops.
5. THE CHALLENGING MUSEUM/CHALLENGING THE MUSEUM - NEW ICME WORKGROUP
6. CHINA TRAVEL GRANT DEADLINES
Information and applications for travel grants to the 22nd General Conference of ICOM to be held in Shanghai, November 7-10, 2010. Information can be found at the following website: http://icom.museum/general-conference2010.html
On October 31, 2009, 59 cultural heritage leaders from 32 countries, including representatives of Africa, the Middle East, South America, and Asia, unanimously passed the Salzburg Declaration on the Conservation and Preservation of Cultural Heritage. http://www.mynewsletterbuilder.com/tools/refer.php?s=921579023&u=20065169&v=2&ke\y=f258&url=http://www.imls.gov/pdf/Salzburg_Declaration%2520.pdf
From Marcy Brink-Danan (co-convener, CAJJ) on behalf of Erica Lehrer:
8. CALL FOR PAPERS
February 13-15, Fourth International Conference on Design Principles and Practices, University of Illinois, Chicago, USA. designprinciplesandpractices.com/Conference-2010/
March 13-14 2010, '(En)countering Globalizations: Religion in the Contemporary World', Asia Association for Global Studies (AAGS) 2010 Conference. National Chung Cheng University, Taiwan http://asia-globalstudies.org/call_for_papers_2010
10. WORDS FROM THE EDITOR
For the next issue of ICME News we would like to focus on collections and new approaches to dealing with collecting and collections. We will have an article on the highly interesting new Wikimedia-project, but I would also like to invite articles and comments on collections more generally.
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