The Korea Furniture Museum, which hosted luncheon for spouses of G20 leaders during the G20 Seoul Summit in November, launched an academic program on Tuesday for spouses of foreign ambassadors to Korea and expat CEOs to help them discover traditional Korean heritage.
While spouses of foreign ambassadors normally spend about three years in Korea, their exposure to Korean culture is relatively limited due to language barriers. To turn their attention toward premium Korean culture, the museum and the Seongbuk-gu office will run “Seongbuk Seowon Academy” from March to May, the museum said.
The once a month, three-part program covers Korea’s traditional clothing, food and housing at the museum, which specializes in collecting, preserving and exhibiting Korean traditional wooden furniture.
The first session kicked off Tuesday with a fashion show of Korean royal wedding costumes, arranged by Kim Kyung-sil, a professor of the fashion design department at Sungkyunkwan University.
Featured dresses included “Noeui,” or the most important ceremonial robe for princesses, and the second important ceremonial robe for queens during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), “hwalot,” or a wedding robe for a princess. Queen Myeongseong’s “Jeukeui,” or an official court robe in crimson, was also showcased.
Spouses of foreign ambassadors and other participants watch a fashion show featuring Korean traditional wedding dresses at the Korea Furniture Museum in Seoul on Tuesday. (Kim Myung-sub/The Korea Herald)
“In Korean traditional society, elegance, skill and a warm heart were the values of a decent person. I hope the Seongbuk Seowon Academy will bring us these three values,” said Lee Bae-yong, chairman of the Presidential Council on Nation Branding, during her congratulatory remarks.
“We’re here to represent our countries but, thanks to experiences like this, when we go back to our homes, we will do our best to represent Korea, too,” said Kathleen Stephens, U.S. Ambassador to Korea.
Marita Seidt, wife of Hans-Ulrich Seidt, German Ambassador to Korea, thanked Chyung Mi-sook, director of the Korea Furniture Museum, for holding the event.
“A dream for Koreans, ‘ggum,’ is something which a person tries to make happen. Her passion led to the most amazing treasure we look at today,” she said.
Participants who attended the fashion show included Choe Kwang-shik, head of the Cultural Heritage Administration, Kim Young-bae, Mayor of Seongbuk-gu and Lee Sung-deok, wife of Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Kim Sung-hwan.
The second program of the Seongbuk Seowon Academy will be held in April featuring Korean traditional food and tableware and the third one in May will be an outdoor program delving into Korean architecture and landscape. The third program will also include a visit to Seongnakwon, the villa for Minister Shim Sang-eung during the reign of King Cheoljong (1831-1863).
The Korea Furniture Museum is open from Monday to Saturday and admission to permanent exhibitions is 20,000 won per person. For more information, call (02) 745-0181 or visit www.kofum.com.
By Kim Yoon-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org