Why the Digital Museum?

Korean studies, especially premodern studies in the West is an underdeveloped field with few, accessible resources, especially for beginners. This is made worse by the general "ivory tower" problem where the state of knowledge within the academy is often inaccessible to a broader, interested audience. So for instance, while university students rely heavily on open-source internet resources, such as Wikipedia, to complement their learning process and to study for exams, these resources are sometimes quite poorly curated. We see this in the English-language Wikipedia articles concerning Korean history, where the bulk of the articles are low-quality and rely on low-quality source materials.

The problem is not unique to Korean studies, or even the humanities. In the sciences, cutting-edge research is often behind a paywall, Science too faces this problem of misrepresentation in the media or poor communication across boundaries, but science majors usually get to work hands on in lab experiments and pursue meaningfully in the process of scientific knowledge production. In the Humanities, however, students are often asked to do projects, write research papers as classroom assignments, but are not actually given the chance to PARTICIPATE and IMPACT the direction of public scholarship.

The Digital Museum reflects the journeys of UCLA's students and faculty as they engage with the forefront of research in Korean history. The museum features their efforts to communicate their learning to a wider audience. Most of the materials on the site are student projects produced as part of required coursework during their studies at UCLA.

—Sixiang Wang, Assistant Professor of Premodern Korean History, Department of Asian Languages and Cultures