The social isolation, self-quarantine continues all around the globe. With the help of Daughter, I’ve gotten the old VCR player working and am slowly watching even older tapes of arts and anthropology programs. Those were the days when the Bravo and Arts and Entertainment Networks on TV broadcast only arts programming, not the reality shows that have proliferated on today’s boob tube.
The current of situation of home sequestration reminds me of a conference in Korea to which I was invited. It was 2013 and the event was the biennial Yeongwol International Museum Forum in Yeongwol, Korea. Where? Actually, a totally and amazingly beautiful area of South Korea about 70 minutes from Seoul. Whenever I meet Koreans and tell them I’m been in that area, they are astounded at all the places I’ve been able to visit in their country.
The theme was “Yeongwol, A World of Museums.” Yeongwol County had historically provided the coal to fuel Korea’s energy industry. In responses to changes, in the past ten or more years the county was designated a special museum district. Funds have been invested in public and private museums to support the local economy. Closed buildings and schools have been transformed into a variety of different types of museums.
The conference was held at an expansive golf resort in the mountains. Speakers were housed in high rise apartments. Each morning we met in communal dining halls. As we walked along paths to reach the central location for breakfast we were serenaded with piped-in, Western rock music, including … here it is … The Eagles, “Hotel California.” Several of us wondered if there was a special meaning to the repeated playing of this selection.
For some unknown reason, I was asked to speak about Museum Marketing. In many of the jobs I’ve held (Cleveland, Tulsa, Miami) I either had to do all the public relations or at least oversee the efforts. That was the dark ages then; now I’m a dinosaur. All of my experience predates the rise of social media, which since 2013 has been further transformed. My presentation stuck to the basics, the simple elements necessary to get the story out, clearly. Several participants thanked me for my words and directions. Yes, my ego was stroked.
As usual for Korean conferences, we visited a number of the museums in the area, we ate, and we took advantage of the sights. I’d like to share some of them with you. In so doing, I send wishes to my friends and colleagues who also find themselves in quarantine. I guess you could say we are all in the same boat for the time being. And let’s hope that in the near future we will be released from our momentarily imposed “Hotel California.”
I realize that our experiences were many, so I’ll make a couple of blogs rather than bore you …
Throughout the day, we were provided treats of special Korean teas and “cookies” by lovely ladies in traditional dress, hanbok.
Here are a few of the museums we visited:
This is the Kim Satkat Culture Hall, a literary shrine to Kim Satkat, a wandering poet who wore a conical bamboo hat.
Next stop was the Chosun Minhwa Museum, specializing in the folk paintings of the Joseon period (1310-1910). Exhibits also include modern paintings in the folk art style.
Must have a snack break with entertainment. The snack was yummy, freshly made scallion pancakes. Entertainment was pangmul which combines drumming, dancing, and singing, and swinging hats – perpetual motion.
Cultural tours in Korea often include the opportunities to try your hand at the task. A colleague from Singapore put his back into making pounded rice sweets.
Lunch followed. And I’ll continue with this, with a few more museums, and street and market food.
Stay well and … good luck on the search for toilet paper!