Children’s Museum of Austin – The Thinkery

Song of Korea Traveling Initiative

Song of Korea, an evocative and engaging exhibit, brings Korea’s sounds, rhythms, and traditions to a national audience of children’s museum visitors. Funded by the Freeman Foundation, this traveling exhibit provides opportunities to explore one of Asia’s cultures in a hands-on, interactive way.

Wandering in and out of the entry, a shadowbox portal of graphics, images, artifacts, and sounds, children discover the welcoming Song of Korea. Cutouts of real Korean children with integrated sound chips stand and speak as ambassadors, inviting visitors to each neighborhood. Working with Korean and American educators, the design team visualized a series of interactive zones that illustrate both ancient traditions and contemporary lifestyle. Incorporating authentic materials, instruments, and sensorial experiences, these neighborhoods encourage children to try-on Korean everyday life.

At Grandfather’s Drum Workshop, children join in a Lunar New Year celebration to learn how tradition is passed from generation to generation. In a simulation of modern urban high-rise living, families visit friends for spicy Korean foods and engage in dinner conversation. Korean culture sustains a strong belief in the power of education and hard work; visiting an example of an elementary school demonstrates this philosophy. Moving into a Noraebang, a Karaoke singing room, children dance and sing along to traditional and K-Pop (Korean pop) songs.

Shifting from zone to zone, children role-play, dress up, and become more attune to this nation’s sights and sounds. The rhythm of daily Korean life is explored through play, teaching children about Asian cultures by appealing to their natural curiosity. Children visiting this cultural playroom actively connect to the Korean experience. Beautiful to see and hear, the Song of Korea encourages musical experiences, constructs new cultural understandings, and builds respect for tradition and family through play.

Owner: Thinkery
Architecture, Interior Architecture & Exhibit Design
: Architecture Is Fun, Inc.
Museum Consultant:
Mary Sinker
: Chicago/Illinois
: Completed 2006
:  © Doug Snower Photography