Google Arts and Culture: National Museum of Korea.

When researching for the best virtual event experience, I found Google’s Art & Culture site, which allows the viewer to virtually explore many different areas of interest and exhibitions. The National Museum of Korea being “The most representative and extensive museum in the Republic of Korea”, it was established in 1945. In 2005, the museum was expanded and reopened. I thought it would be a very interesting choice to review. And I was correct in thinking that. You are given the freedom to explore 19 rooms including the surrounding architecture of the museum, in each area you can read signs and frequently updated site information for each room, such as the history and origins.

You begin the event in the main hall, the first thing you see upon entering, although you may not experience the same excitement of physically entering a space like this, you can still understand and relate to that experience. After walking the main hall, you are prompted outside to a large monument and vista of the entire museum, this was great to introduce the museum to a reader who knows little of Korean history and culture.

The first exhibit we see is a statue of Bodhisattva. The statue was inspired by an image of Prince Sakyamuni, after admiring the statue, you can leave the room and further explore the Bodhisattva floor, containing more artifacts and information. After each main artifact, you are given a page of information on that artifact, this is a great feature to have the freedom and educational experience of a physical museum.

You then reach the Buddhist Sculpture room. Where you’ll be will be surrounded by “large stone and iron statues, crafted in the Unified Silla and the Goryeo dynasty”. Here I learnt the history behind the iconic Buddha statue, that I have always recognised, “it was relocated from its temple site in Hanam and weighs over 6.2 tonnes.”

I also learned the “Kingdom of Silla, one of the three kingdoms of Korea” was witness to a large culture of gold and riches, 5th - 6th centaury tombs of rulers were decorated in gold and jewelled stone.

Something that I would’ve liked to of seen is an audio feature just for immersions sake, this would further the feeling of a new exciting experience that art museums are all about. And especially in the current lockdown, escapism and immersion are what so many people are longing for. Virtual events are growing to be better and better with further technology and creative minds. Furthermore, having such freedom to explore events such as this is a step further into the ethics and equality of art, most classes anywhere in the world can experience this event and hundreds more.

Once I had explored all six galleries, I found myself with new sparked interest and was enlightened into the art and culture of Korea. It was of the most informative and extensive virtual events that I’ve attended, and I shall be revisiting the Google Arts and Culture site again.

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