Founder of Onyang Folk Museum
Kim Won-dae (sobriquet: Gujeong (龜亭))
(1921 - 2000)
As a pillar the preservation and sharing of the splendid cultural heritage of the past, we are dedicated to presenting and honoring the spirit and wisdom of our ancestors
- Mission of Onyang Folk Museum
Folklore encompasses the lifeways of the people collected over history. It is a cumulative body of living culture that adapts and changes with the times as it is passed down from generation to generation. Through time, some elements are added, and others are lost over the evolution of living history. Despite the ceaseless change that makes up this development, the general framework of folklore persists. People on the Korean Peninsula have adopted other cultures throughout the millennia and successfully integrated them into local traditions.
With the shift to modern society, however, traditional culture has been increasingly undermined by the radical changes in the living environment brought about by industrial development and the inflow of global cultural elements through the development of mass media. Moreover, tangible folklore materials, which are the products of traditional lifeways, are gradually disappearing before their significance and value have been fully appreciated. Under such conditions, we must understand our folklife in an objective manner in order to preserve and sustain traditional culture and safeguard the Korean national identity.
This is the core purpose underlying the establishment of comprehensive folklife museums dedicated to the holistic organization and exhibition of our ancestral folklore materials. Folklife museums are a platform for contemporary people to reflect upon their cultural roots and awaken the spirit of “studying the old to understand the new” (溫故知新, ongo jisin).
Onyang Folk Museum was established with the aim of systematically collecting, preserving, and exhibiting tangible folklore materials, thereby encouraging rational understanding among future generations, reviving traditional elements in the present day, promoting academic research, and celebrating unique aspects of Korean culture.
The late Kim Won-dae (sobriquet: Gujeong (龜亭)) began his career in the publishing business at the tender age of 25 in the years following Korea’s liberation from Japan. He established the first Korean publishing house dedicated to children’s books, with the mission of fostering complete education. Kyemongsa grew into a publishing powerhouse kindling the dreams and hopes of generations. In 1974, Kim established Gilwon Girls’ High School in his hometown of Andong in Gyeongsangbuk-do Province. In 1978, he established the Onyang Folk Museum in Asan, Chungcheongnam-do Province. Through these endeavors, Kim actively committed himself to the provision of a socially just education for the young readers of the books that he published.
Onyang Folk Museum is the realization of its late founder’s lifelong wish to cherish our roots by presenting the lifeways and customs of our predecessors to the youth of today. He founded the nation’s first private folk museum with a firm determination to preserve a history and culture that was increasingly at risk. Kim, who had served as the museum’s director, passed away in 2000, but the staff of the Gujeong Cultural Foundation have resolved to uphold the noble spirit of our late founder and develop the museum into a cradle of traditional culture. We will exert our utmost efforts to support the research, collection, exhibition, and education of our living culture so as to encourage the blossoming of Korean culture and arts around the world. We kindly request your continued interest and support.
Gujeong Cultural Foundation