Saturday, June 10, 2017
A Trip to Korea
Where: Natural History Museum
When: through July 5, 2017
The Korea Gallery is located at the back of the 2nd floor of Natural History, and amidst all the hubbub surrounding the Hope Diamond and the gem collection, it's easy to overlook. The easiest way to get there is to take the stairs by the Constitution Avenue entrance, the ones surrounding the totem poles.
This one room show highlights various aspects of Korean culture; there's some history, some art, some ceramics and some discussion of societal norms. I learned that Korea (both North and South put together) is the size of Minnesota, a state I've visited several times. So it's pretty decent size, but small in comparison to the entire United States.
Did you know that Koreans had moveable type almost 200 years before Gutenberg and his Bible? I didn't, but I do now. It's a bit embarrassing to have been educated in such a Euro-centric way, but all I can do is try to fill in the gaps now.
The picture above is of two bowls. The one on the left is from the 12th century, and the one on the right is from the 20th century. Both of them feature a celadon glaze, for which Korea is famous. Pieces of ceramic that the visitor could actually touch were just next to these - I love a tactile exhibit, and one sees them so seldom. Good job for including this, Natural History!
Verdict: Informative displays in a small space - the out of the way location is my only criticism.