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A Study on the Status and Background of Municipal Museums’ Exhibitions in Korea

전인미 1

1서울대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Local Autonomy of Korea started with the election for Local Council in 1952 by Local Government Act according to Decree no. 32 dated July 4th, 1949. It was interrupted by the 5.16 military coup, and reintroduced after 30 years’ absence with the election forthe head of local government and local council performed in July 27th, 1995. The central government tried to make the reintroduced Local Autonomy as a chance for the reformation of cultural environment as well as the change of administration at that time when economy of the country was stabilized and concerns for the culture were rising. ‘The reformation of cultural environment’ the central government expected signified equal improvement of the level of cultural enjoyment, and for this, the central government continuously emphasized expansion of the cultural infrastructure such like a museum and an art museum. The other hand Local government tried to use a museum as a strategy for local characterization to advertize its region. Local governments started to unearth their typical cultures distinguished from other regions and developed new materials with a financial support of the central government, and built museums for these materials competitively. The increasing rate of the number of public museums compared with the previous year reached a record by the effort of the central and local governments in 2001, and the goal for the construction of 500 museums by 2010 was performed already in 2007. But poor administration, neglect, and corruption concerning the collection occurred and started to be pointed from 2003 with a rapid increasing the number of museums, and actual condition investigation for theme museums by the Board of Audit and Inspection showed gravity of the problems of the public museums. The reason why the problems occurred repeatedly is that they just suggested the improvement direction under the focus at the efficiency of construction business with overlooking the importance of exhibition, the main function of a museum. This research was conducted on the assumption that the first cause of the problems of the museums was originated from the policy and plan for the expansion of museum. From the implementation of Local Autonomy the central government encouraged museum construction business by implementing the supporting policy for museum construction with reforming cultural administrative organization and method of the management of cultural financing. The function as ‘Committee’ in which various opinions of various people are accepted equally was not achieved well in the cultural administrative organization as intended. Furthermore, the fact that the administrative deputy mayor appointed by the central government without direct relationship with culture or art had the biggest power to decide whether they did the business or not raised a problem of lack of professionalism at planning and procedure of museum construction. Also, Museum and Art Museum Promotion Law in Korea does not impose legal controls on establishment of the collection policy, and the standard for prioritizing museum construction business do not include the question of ‘Do they have something worthy of display?’ For this reason there is no one among the public museums doing collecting activities based on definite collection policy. On the contrary, Expert employment of museum was signed into law at the time of the amendment of Museum and Art Museum Promotion Law in March, 2003. Nevertheless,46% of the museums operating currently does not hire the curator with the certificate, and 36 museums does not have a person concerning the curating. And the level of curator is divided into 4 steps by law, but all the people working at the museum are just called curator. This thesis was based on the comparison between records of culture infrastructure manual published by the Ministry of Culture, sports and Tourism and the results of the real door-to-door inquiries. Current situation of the collection, manpower, and operating program provided by the manual is much different from the truth, even not operated museums with shutdown of the building were registered in the museum list as the ones in operating or in course of preparation. The government said the culture infrastructure list was published to raise the level of cultural enjoyment by inducing citizen’s visit and participation with giving a information about domestic culture infrastructure and cultural activities. But the list giving wrong information was not actually functioning but showing the number of culture infrastructure like a cultural policy clinging the expansion in numbers of museum. The central government is still imputing a certain money for the construction of public museum for the purpose of the expansion in numbers of museum without right research for the present situation of the museum being operated. We can say the museums are being operated just when they collect and display worthwhile materials to possess through the curatorial efforts of the member of museum with specialty, not when the construction of the building is accomplished. The government should make an effort to improve them based on the examination of “how the museum is being operated” before setting the standard of “how many museums should be constructed”.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.