SEOUL, July 28 (Korea Bizwire) – Controversy is mounting over plans for the Korean-American National Museum, which will be the first museum devoted to Korean immigration history.
The uproar is due to the decision to establish the museum, which will hold the 113 years of Korean immigration history, as a part of a ‘museum+apartment’ building, instead of an independent structure.
According to the LA Korean society, the board of directors of the museum announced that the museum would be built as a seven story multipurpose building. The first and second floor will be used as a museum, and the rest of the building, including parts of the second floor, will be used for apartments.
The unconventional arrangement is the result of financial worries related to establishing and running the museum. The board announced that rental fees from the apartments would be used as operating funds for the museum.
The budget for the museum is US$30 million. The board suggested that one third of the budget would be fundraised, with the rest being financed through a loan.
The board donated US$1.5 million in total, and the LA Metropolitan government promised a donation of US$2 million, leaving US$6.5 million still to be collected.
The board also emphasized that rental income from the apartments is crucial for the stable management of the museum.
According to the blueprints of the building, there are expected to be 103 households in the apartment complex. The total monthly rent is estimated to be at least US$150,000, generating US$1.8 million in revenue every year.
However, some in the Korean community are criticizing the plan, as other museums like the Central American Museum and Japan-American National museum have been established in independent buildings.
Actually, there has yet to be an example of a museum holding the immigration history of ethnic minorities being founded in a building that also contains residences. Concerns have been voiced that problems could occur when exhibiting and storing cultural assets, books, and documents.
By M. H. Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)