A Fashionable Way of Preserving History
A Fashionable Way of Preserving History
  • Lee Park Jeongeun
  • 승인 2024.04.01 10:00
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A Fashionable Way of Preserving History1)

A museum not only holds exhibitions, but also sells products related to their themes and artifacts in its own shop. The popularity of these museum products has been increasing recently. 'MU:DS' is a new word that combines 'museum' and 'goods,' and also refers to the name of the museum shop of the National Museum of Korea. Miniatures of widely known historical relics such as the Pensive Bodhisattva statue, the Gilt-bronze Incense Burner of Baekje, and a small mother-of-pearl table wireless charger are included in MU:DS. According to the National Museum Foundation of Korea’s resource released on January 3, the total sales of museum products in 2023 was revealed to be 14.9 billion won, a 27 percent increase compared to the previous year. It indicates that the number of buyers of products in museums is rising and their economic influence is also increasing. Kim Mi-kyung, head of the product planning team at the National Museum Foundation of Korea, said, "My daughter, a senior in high school, told me that the miniature of the Gilt-bronze Incense Burner of Baekje was popular on Instagram and that her friends wanted to buy it. I was really surprised as I didn't know that teenagers would want to own a relic imitation costing 99,000 won." This shows that museum goods are gaining a lot of popularity among young people as well. Attracting the attention of them, MU:DS have become a collectible that stimulates the desire to purchase.
This increase in the popularity of MU:DS is related to the recently expanding cultural trend of 'hip-tradition.' Hip-tradition is a compound word of 'hip' which means 'fashionable' and 'tradition,' so it refers to the growing trend of traditional culture being interpreted in a modern way. Therefore, being caused by this tendency, strategies are being developed to encourage the revival and continuation of traditional culture such as historical relics and patterns. In particular, the miniature products created with the motif of the Pensive Bodhisattva statue, a piece seen in the Room of Quiet Contemplation, a permanent exhibition held at the National Museum of Korea, is garnering increasing interest. Not only in the exhibition, but also as a product, it contributes to the promotion of cultural heritage by arousing greater familiarity and the desire to own it. Since it has become popular, a third version of it has been released to ensure that interest in relics does not fall off, and it is possible to naturally show love for relics by choosing from a variety of colors according to one's taste. This is expected to develop into a catalyst that stimulates people's interest in historical and cultural heritage while at the same time arousing people's curiosity in what artifacts museums will use as motifs to create products.


1) Lee Hye-mi, "The Mother of MU:DS Who Captivated You Was a Veteran Marketer Who Sold 190 Billion Worth of 'Green Plum'", Hankook Ilbo, February 2, 2024

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