NMK to extend support for Korean galleries at six museums abroad

The National Museum of Korea has designated six museums in five countries for the Overseas Korean Galleries Support Program, the NMK announced Thursday.

The program aims to promote Korean art and culture by supporting Korean galleries in museums abroad.

The museums that will receive support next year include the Smithsonian's National Museum of Asian Art; Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art at California State University, San Bernardino; the National Museum of Denmark; Rijksmuseum in the Netherlands; the Oriental Museum at Durham University in the UK; and the 26 Martyrs Museum in Japan.

There are currently a total of 70 overseas Korean galleries in 25 countries.

With the inclusion of the six museums, the National Museum of Korea will be supporting 21 Korean galleries across nine countries.

In the Culture Ministry's annual budget for this year, the NMK has been allotted some 3.2 billion won ($2.3 million) towards supporting Korean galleries in museums abroad.

The support will cover gallery renovations, exhibitions, personnel hiring, loans and hosting Korea-related events in the museum starting next year.

Additionally, the program will include publications, educational initiatives, research endeavors, and the establishment of an online database service, all of which will be tailored based on annual demand surveys.

Depending on the specific support programs, each museum will be granted a maximum of up to five years to implement these initiatives.

As part of the initiative, the Smithsonian's National Museum of Asian Art will host a special exhibition of works bequeathed to Korea's major state museums, including the National Museum of Korea, by the late Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee's family, scheduled to run from Nov. 8, 2025, to Feb. 1, 2026.

The National Museum of Denmark will receive support for publications and content productions for its Korean gallery. The National Museum of Korea plans to loan artifacts to the Rijksmuseum's Korean gallery, while reorganizing the gallery with added content.

At Durham University's Oriental Museum, a well-known UK museum specializing in Asian and North African civilizations, the project aims to hire specialist personnel to exclusively manage the Korean gallery and organize exhibitions. At Japan's 26 Martyrs Museum, preservation work will be done on some of its major artifacts, potentially aiding academic research.

"We have not yet finalized the specific scope of the support programs, as each museum has unique needs and strengths," an NMK researcher told The Korea Herald on Thursday. The NMK aims to lay the foundation for enhancing the overall quality of and interest in Korean galleries worldwide as the project progresses, the researcher said.

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