Royal Ontario Museum announces major gift in support of Korean art and culture at the museum
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Royal Ontario Museum announces major gift in support of Korean art and culture at the museum
First ever curatorship of Korean art & culture in Canada announced as part of a multi-year partnership.

TORONTO.- The Royal Ontario Museum announced a landmark partnership with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the Republic of Korea (MCST). The five-year agreement will provide $1 million in funding to support a Curator of Korean Art & Culture ─ a first at any museum in Canada ─ as well as funds for new research and public programming. The agreement was signed on behalf of the Royal Ontario Museum by Josh Basseches, Director & CEO, and on behalf of the MCST by Sungeun Lee, Director of the Korean Cultural Centre Canada in Ottawa.

“This partnership marks the continuation of an important relationship between Korea, the Korean community and the ROM,” says Josh Basseches. “Home to one of the largest collections of Korean art and culture in North America and Europe, the Museum has a long history of raising awareness and encouraging an appreciation for Korean heritage in this province and country. With the upcoming 60th anniversary of Korea-Canada diplomatic relations, this agreement is particularly timely. We are grateful to the Republic of Korea for their generous gift, one that will allow us to grow and share the rich and vibrant art and culture of Korea with visitors here and from around the world.”

The establishment of this curatorial position will play an important role in strengthening the ROM’s position as a vital hub for Korean art and culture in Canada. Once the position is filled, the curator will oversee a world-class collection housed in the only gallery in a Canadian museum dedicated to Korea’s cultural heritage. The curator will be responsible for implementing strategies to grow, manage and interpret the Museum’s collection. In addition to supporting the curatorship, the funding will help sustain and enhance the Museum’s programming offerings and will support installations and other initiatives in this collections area that foster greater engagement with the public and introduce new audiences to the art and culture of Korea. Connecting with Toronto’s vibrant Korean community ─ which represents the largest Korean community in Canada ─ and building international relationships with cultural institutions in Korea and around the world that enhance dialogue and exchange ─ will be of vital importance to the role of the incoming curator.

“The Royal Ontario Museum has the largest Korean art collection of any museum in North America,” says Keung Ryong Chang, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Canada. “This partnership signals our commitment to strengthening our bilateral relationship in the years to come. With the addition of a new Curator of Korean Art & Culture, and initiatives such as the Korean audio guide, I look forward to seeing a vibrant offering of programs related to the Korean art collection at the ROM.”

In addition to this new partnership, the ROM also received an earlier grant from the Korean government which supports the creation of a new suite of audio guides launching this summer that will further enrich the ROM experience for visitors. Featuring an enhanced storytelling format, the new guides encompass Museum Highlights, and the galleries of Canada, First Peoples, Dinosaurs, as well as Korea. They will be available in English, French, and Korean. The guides, available on a new app-based platform, will provide a fresh and accessible way for audiences to enjoy the Museum.

“I am delighted to see the enhanced Korean art collection displayed among the ROM’s vast holdings of art and culture,” says Sungeun Lee, Director of the Korean Cultural Centre Canada. “With this new partnership, I look forward to further cultural exchanges between Korea and Canada.”

This partnership builds on a number of joint initiatives accomplished together over the years, from digitizing 80 per cent of the Korean collection to the conservation of four paintings in Korea, and the creation of Korean-language map guides.

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