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Korean dialects exhibition to mark National Hangeul Museum’s 10th anniversary

By Choi Si-young

Published : April 18, 2024 - 15:47

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A children’s magazine shows the use of dialects. (National Hangeul Museum) A children’s magazine shows the use of dialects. (National Hangeul Museum)

An exhibition on Korean dialects kicks off Friday as part of events run by the National Hangeul Museum to mark its 10th anniversary on Hangeul Day, which falls on Oct. 9.

The “On Dialects” exhibition shows collections of literary works and documents exploring efforts made to preserve different ways of speaking Korean. It runs until Oct. 13 at the museum in Yongsan-gu, central Seoul.

“What makes the exhibition special is that it’s presenting some of the materials museum officials came to collect themselves as they were searching for things related to dialects,” a museum official said during a preview tour Thursday.

Braille signs and sign language as well as audio guides in English will be provided for the exhibition, the museum said. Scanning a QR code at the museum website enables a virtual tour of the exhibition.

“Our job is to raise awareness of Hangeul and we plan on delivering on that exhausting every resource we have,” said Kim Il-hwan, the museum’s director, noting he expects to see museum efforts boosted by exhibitions that will take place alongside regional festivals.

Performances and lectures involving dialects will take place in Gangneung, Gangwon Province, in June and in Jeju City in October. The events will coincide with annual local festivals hosted by the two cities.

“Having those festivalgoers join ours on the spot” facilitates a broader reach, according to the museum.

Overseas outreach is also underway.

“Hangeul Experiment Project,” a touring exhibition, will kick off in July in Hanoi, Vietnam, traveling onward to the Philippines’ capital Manila in September. The exhibition will look at the artistic as well as commercial adaptations of the Korean writing system, presenting videos, graphics and other content that highlight the unique shapes of the 28 letters of Hangeul. The project was launched in 2016.

The annual International Museum Forum will bookend the museum’s plans for this year. The gathering of museum officials, academics and practitioners -- set to convene sometime after Hangeul Day -- will discuss the restoration of human dignity and protection of the ecosystems and environment.

Last year’s inaugural forum drew over 200 participants, including members of the International Council of Museums, who discussed steps language museums could take in the face of rapid digitization in all fields.