[Excellent R&D] A Step Toward Coexistence of Cultural Properties
Professor Ahn Shin-won (Department of Cultural Anthropology)
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Did you know that there is a national treasure near Hanyang University? Salgoji Bridge, the longest bridge during the Joseon Dynasty period, was excavated by Professor Ahn Shin-won (Department of Cultural Anthropology), the current head of the ERICA Institute of Cultural Properties and the chief of the Hanyang University Museum. He is now leading the Ganghwa-gun designated cultural heritage comprehensive maintenance plan, which aims to recognize and analyze the present conditions of 60 city-designated cultural assets and plans to preserve, restore, and utilize them.
The purpose of this project is to establish a comprehensive maintenance and restoration plan of Ganghwa-gun's city-designated cultural properties, to utilize them as baseline data for preservation management and application. This is a 10 month-long project which began in July of this year and is expected to finish in May of next year. The restoration project covers 60 cultural properties, including 17 tangible cultural assets, 34 monuments, and 9 cultural heritage materials. Although it is important that our cultural heritage is preserved and maintained, making use of them is an even more important project. The comprehensive maintenance plan is a scheme to preserve cultural heritage even more efficiently. In order to carry out such a plan, there must be research done on how the present condition is.
The comprehensive maintenance plan is an extended study of archeology, according to Ahn, who majored in the field. It is possible that ordinary citizens do not know the value of the excavations, which is why they must be preserved, utilized, and openly known. The city-designated cultural properties are not managed well, according to Ahn, and there are many cases where the direction boards have been mislabeled, or the roads to cultural assets are rocky and difficult to access. This is why diagnosing the current conditions of the cultural properties is important in order to take the necessary measures to better improve their state of preservation.
Executing the Ganghwa-gun designated cultural heritage comprehensive maintenance plan to preserve local cultural properties can be an exemplary case in regards to utilizing cultural assets. It can also instill the idea of protecting our cultural properties in people's minds. “We need to make sure that our children grow up in an environment where preserving our cultural heritage is not a campaign, but a basic,” said Ahn. He also emphasized the importance of preserving intangible cultural assets such as folk games, pansori (a genre of Korean musical storytelling), or religions.
The ERICA Institute of Cultural Properties has long deliberated on how to improve the cultural assets alongside people in their lives and have successfully taken the lead in this sector. They are now working on how to incorporate cultural properties in stages as early as urban planning at Hanam-si. It is unprecedented in Korea that city planners and experts in cultural assets work together, according to Ahn.
Cultural properties is not something grandiose. "We must think of them as our family so that we naturally protect them," said Ahn. Analysis on the present condition of the 60 cultural heritages is finished, and now, Ahn is working on the report that describes how to preserve them and how to utilize the cultural properties.
Kim Hyun-soo firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by Lee Hyeon-seon
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