When you step into the Woonjung Green Campus, assorted sculptures welcome you with an imposing aura. From a shape of a heart to an energetic skier, diversified pieces are harmoniously exhibited and fill the campus with huge inspirations. As this place is named ‘International Sculpture Park’, Korea, Ireland, and China’s famed artists smarten our campus. Passing the park, an azure landscape of a Korean painter Kim Yeongjae's paintings spruce up the P building’s lobby up. As the Woonjung Green Campus held an art project 'Campus Museum' in 2015, even the corridors, lecture rooms, and rooftop coexist with delicate sculptures and paintings. A passageway between building A and B, which resembles the Guggenheim Museum in New York, especially represents the combination of campus and art; these spaces are collectively called ‘the Campus Gallery’, and it creatively influences students.
Sungshin University established three museums: The Central Museum in the Soojung Campus, Natural History Museum, and Jeongone Park Gwanghoon Costume Museum in the Woonjung Green campus. The Central Museum's main permanent exhibition is 'The World Dreamed by the Sovereign'; centering around ancient maps and astronomical charts, ruling ideas and social policies of the past kings are concretely described. In the Natural History Museum, you can feel the valuable nature through six themes of Rocks, Developments, Plants, Insects, and Animals. Jeongone Park Gwang-hoon Costume Museum consists of Sungshin's possessions and 600 traditional garments donated by Park Kwang-hoon, who is the 11th Chimseonjang (meaning needlework master in Korean) of Seoul's intangible cultural heritage. Plentiful materials teach us lifelong traditional ceremonies and Korea's royal life based on the costumes.
Every museum in Sungshin aims to provide an inventive and pleasant experience to all visitors. However, their mission isn’t limited it; university museums play an important role as a hub of education and research. Its accessibility to affiliated students and residents outclasses other distant museums. They can visit the museum whenever they want, and this convenience can easily link people and art. Also, universities always employ respectable professors, who sustainably preserve and analyze relics with their specialized knowledge. They also utilize artifacts to develop their studies and instruct students with school-connected materials. The museum is supported by the audience’s constant interests and the researcher’s exquisite efforts. University museums are distinguished from other general exhibition organizations, and they, including Sungshin’s Museum, surely satisfy those requirements with the possibility of approach and human resources, which they acquire only with the establishment itself.
At this point, we need to look at whether Sungshin’s Museum is practically well-operated. Of course, we can’t judge the achievement of the museum with a vague criterion like the number of visitors. Still, comparing Sungshin Museum with other university museums remains is an unique trial to advance. Korea has 105 university museums in 2020, and related organizations strive to strengthen the museums’ position; one of the projects they carried out was to select outstanding university museums with the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism. Pusan National University, Daegu University, Ehwa Woman’s University, Kyungpook National University, and Seoul Women’s University were chosen due to the remarkable outcomes of their own university museums. Their common feature is ‘connection’. COVID-19 brought university museums appalling hardship and a loss of vitality; nonetheless, those institutions propelled the exhibition and education programs via an online format to connect with audiences. Ehwa Woman’s University opened the exhibition ‘Scenes from 19th Century Joseon’ both online and offline. On the other side, Pusan National University hosted two special exhibitory events, collaborating with Mokpo National University and Dong-A University; the unity between museums intensified the scale and scope of the show and existing relics. Namely, selected university museums turned the COVID-19 crisis into a chance to gain new audiences and bolster their competence.
Even though Sungshin University didn’t take part, our museum also boosted themselves last year. The official homepage boasts photos and detailed explanations of its spectacular collections, which help audiences to appreciate the exhibition remotely; inviting outside lecturer and promoting interesting programs like ‘Record My Own Wildflower’ and ‘Culture Trip with the Museum’ attracted audiences both offline and online. The museum also tried to approach students in the familiar way. When the campus held the school festival ‘Daedongjae’ in October, they celebrated it with a giveaway event; they also made 2021 calendars and memo pads, featuring Sungshin’s relics and the mascot Sooryong with a Korean traditional hat called ‘Gat.’
The university can’t stand by itself; diverse people should gather, and their enthusiasm is also needed. Even if students and instructors densely exist on the campus, they won't contribute to a significant change without passion for an adventure in the forest of knowledge. Art can wake them up and deliver inexhaustible inspirations and messages. We can even snatch enjoyable rest in front of the canvas. From time to time, the art looks like meaningless ostentation, but it clearly fills the place with invisible but precious influence. Luckily, Sungshin's campus has decent museums and art galleries; they have obtained satisfactory results but more active online programs and new exhibitions are still needed. Professor Noh Juhwan from the Department of Sculpture from Sungshin, who also serves as a director of Sungshin Museum, expressed his strong will to develop the museum; he said “In 2021, the primary objectives of Sungshin Museum are ensuring the museum’s internal stability and expanding online communication.” They plan to support the affiliated curators, collect data about the Sungshin’s history, and seal an agreement with Google Art & Culture. With diligently advancing the Sungshin Museum, our passionate participation and the university’s sufficient support are necessary, too. It will enliven art and relics to Sungshin, and complete our genuine intellectual quests in earnest.
By Kim Hyeyeong Deputy Editor-in-Chief (email@example.com)