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Sascha Priewe and Heechung Yang. A New Look for the BM’s Korea Foundation Gallery

On 17 December 2014, the British Museum’s (BM’s) Korea Foundation Gallery reopened its doors following a six-week refurbishment project. The gallery first opened in November 2000 thanks to a grant from the Korea Foundation, and the generous support of the National Museum of Korea (NMK) on this occasion gave the BM a chance to rethink the way it displays its Korean collections. As noted by one guest at the reopening reception, the gallery in its original incarnation felt like it was nearing the end of its run. The authors would add that the deterioration of the lighting was a strong contributing factor. Dissatisfaction in terms of the gallery’s performance was not only felt by the Korea team at the BM, but also by visitors—including prominent Korean observers—and participants of expert workshops convened to discuss the future of the gallery. But the principal motivation came from the results of a visitor survey commissioned in 2012 to gauge the gallery’s performance. In short, it did not perform—at least not for most of our visitors. 

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