Learning about the Lives of Silhak Scholars and Their Philosophy of Seeking Truth from Facts
GyeongGi-do is the birthplace of Silhak. It is the location of the largest collection of artifacts and records related to Silhak in Korea. Even today, a number of ruins where Silhak scholars lived and studied can be found in various parts of GyeongGi-do including areas along the Hangang River. The Museum of Silhak is situated at the birthplace of Dasan Jeong Yakyong, the great scholar who integrated and completed the philosophy of Silhak. The Museum of Silhak collects, preserves, and studies tangible and intangible materials and information on Silhak while implementing academic exchanges, presenting exhibitions, and serving as a multicultural venue that offers various educational programs and entertainment to GyeongGi-do residents.
ㅣ16, Gil 747 Dasan-ro, Joan-myeon, Namyangju-si, GyeongGi-do, Korea
ㅣ16, Gil 747 Dasan-ro, Joan-myeon, Namyangju-si, GyeongGi-do, Korea
Each exhibition room of the permanent exhibition at the Museum of Silhak displays collections on different themes to help visitors learn about Silhak in a way which can be directly translated as “Practical Learning.” Exhibition Room 1 displays the formation and birth of Silhak; Exhibition Room 2 is dedicated to showcase writings by scholars of Silhak; Exhibition Room 3 focuses on the scientific aspects of Silhak scholarship. In addition, feature exhibitions showcase different aspects of Silhak through diversely-themed exhibitions, held twice a year, on the lives of the scholars belonging to the group as well as the spirit and culture of Silhak.
The museum holds a total of 1,800 artifacts including portraits of Silhak scholars from the 17th to 19th centuries and old journals that display the academic achievements of the Silhak movement, handwritten letters by individual scholars, and records and items used by scholars in their everyday lives, which have been passed down to their offspring. Among them are a variety of old documents and books revealing aspects of the society of the time, important artifacts related to scientific development, and maps and encyclopedias written from the perspective of the Silhak movement.
- The Museum of Silhak offers a number of very engaging education programs all year round, some of which include the following | Programs in conjunction with schools and special programs during vacations and national holidays for preschoolers, grade-schoolers, and teenagers; The Museum of Silhak Outreach Program in which booths installed at local festivals give people hands-on experience of Silhak; and the Silhak Academy, which offers special lectures for adults.
- Dasan Justice and Integrity Academy | An experience-focused education program based on the theme of justice and integrity of Dasan Jeong Yakyong for public organizations. The Museum of Silhak, the Dasan Historic Site, and Dumulmeori along the Hangang (River) have been used for educational programs as sites representative of integrity. About 2,000 to 3,000 public officers participate in this academy every year.
- Sleepover Night | A family constellation camp held on weekends.
Research and Academic Projects
The Museum of Silhak continues to carry out research and publication projects such as publishing a research monographic series and translation series on Silhak. Along this line, the museum has also held symposiums and academic conferences to form organic networks with the academic community within Korea and abroad and contribute further to the advance of Silhak research.
- 2017 Silhak culture symposium “Bangye Yu Hyeongwon’s Scholarship and Philosophy”
- 2015 East Asia Silhak international symposium “Silhak as a Critical Discourse”
This international symposium served as an opportunity to showcase the Museum of Silhak as the leading Silhak organization both in Korea and abroad by celebrating the sixth anniversary of the museum. It was planned to contribute to the research and development of Silhak and the formation of a systematic network among relevant academic institutions both domestically and abroad. The symposium contributed to the development of Silhak in East Asia by publishing and distributing “99 Silhak Philosophers in East Asia” in Korea, China, and Japan.
- Permanent Exhibition | The permanent exhibition is centered on the themes of the formation and development of Silhak, as well as its connection to science. The exhibition allows visitors to get an overall view of Silhak from its foundation of Silhak to what each school of Silhak thought advocated, and how they affected the development of science in Korea.
- Special Exhibition 1 — The Woman: Communication with Silhak | This feature exhibition is dedicated to introducing the lives of women from the Joseon Dynasty who expressed themselves through practical learning in their daily lives. It illuminates the female figures in search of their identities as women through the study of literature and Neo-Confucianism, as well as philosophy and science of everyday life. (April. 17 — Aug. 27, 2017)
- Special Exhibition 2 — Homecoming of Hapi-cheop | This feature exhibition centers around Hapi-cheop, a collection of letters written by Jeong Yakyong during his exile. Hapi refers to an old sunset-colored skirt of Jeong Yakyong’s wife that she sent him, and on which he wrote letters of advice for his two sons and descendent. Visitors can catch a glimpse into Jeong Yakyong’s state of mind and thoughts asa father. (Oct. 17, 2016 — Mar. 26, 2017)
- Silhak, Falling into All Sorts of Learning — “Why and How Do We Study?” | This feature exhibition was formed to reflect on the true learning of this era by examining the study methods of Silhak, a practical style of learning developed in order to properly cope with contemporary questions and issues during the lateJoseon Dynasty. (Dec. 22, 2015 — Apr. 3, 2016)
Major Collection Items
- Songha-hanyu-do, Hu Bing | Songha-hanyu-do (strolling under the pine tree) was drawn by Hu Bing, an artist during the Ming period in China, when Kim Yuk visited China as an envoy in 1637. It includes an eoje-chan (imperial compliment of loyalty) composed by King Yeongjo on the top right corner of the work.
- Dugang-seungyu-cheop | A collection of landscapes of Dumulmeori where the Namhangang River and Bukhangang(River) meet. It is comprised of two volumes of scrolls. The paintings depict the landscape from the southern part of Paldang to Dumulmeori with poems written by several intellectuals. Yi Geonpil, an artist from the late Joseon Period, painted these landscapes.
- Ahak-pyeon | A textbook written for children by Jeong Yakyong dealing with Chinese character education during the early years of his exile in Gangjin. It contains 2,000 handwritten Chinese characters by Jeong as well as their pronunciation and meanings in Korean.
- Astrolabe, Yu Geum | The astrolabe is a portable astronomy tool for observing the locations of stars, and keeping track of time, longitude, and latitude. They were usually manufactured in Arabia. This was made by Yu Geum (1741 — 1788), who had a profound knowledge of both geometry and astronomy. He was a Silhak scholar who communicated with members of the Northern Learning School, including Park Jiwon.