Out of capacity reasons, the museum does not conduct any own research. However, we collaborate in research projects and provide our inventory for selected projects.
Currently, several postgraduate students do research in our house on museum related topics.
The Mission Museum participates in initiatives for research and maintenance of missionary collections.
> in 2016, an initial survey among missionary orders about their collections initiated by the German Conference of Superiors of Religious Orders (DOK) was evaluated by the museum.
The results were presented at the symposium Missionsgeschichtliche Sammlungen heute. Herausforderungen, Chancen, Visionen (Missionary Collections Today. Challenges, Opportunities, Visions) organized by LVR / LWL-Museumsamt für Westfalen at St. Augustin/Bonn on March 23-24, 2017.
The contribution Zur besonderen Situation missionsgeschichtlicher Sammlungen (The Special Situation of Missionary Collections) was published in several mediums (ordenskorrespondenz, issue 4/2017; conference transcript Studia Instituti Missiologici SVD, orden.de)
> During fall and winter 2021/22, the museum took a detailed inventory in 51 houses of catholic missionary religious orders and 14 protestant mission boards; the results were summarized in the article Fremde Welten. Eine Bestandsaufnahme missionarischer Sammlungen (Distant worlds. An Inventory of Missionary Collections) (ordenskorrespondenz, issue 2/2022).
> On June 1-3, 2022, the conference Missionsgeschichtliche Sammlungen heute: Das Museum als Kontaktzone (Missionary Collections Today. The Museum as Contact Zone) took place at the Centrum für Religionswissenschaftliche Studien (Center for religious studies, CERES) at Bochum Ruhr University. The museum presented the article Museum – historisches Erbe – Wunderkammer? Differenzierung und museologische Einordnung missionarischer Sammlungen (Museum - Heritage - Cabinet of Curiosities? Distinction and Museological Categorisation of Missionary Collections). A companion volume will be published in 2023.
Restoration of a groom's traditional costume
Between 2018 and 2020, two traditional groom's costumes from the museum's inventory were restored in Korea. One of the garments was donated after restoration to Seoul's National Folk Museum. The other costume was returned to the museum.
These articles of clothing called dallyeong (literally: robe with a round collar) were the groom's attire on his wedding day. They are similar in style to traditional official's garments of the Joseon epoch (1392 - 1910).
However, the museum's pieces of clothing are of recent times; experts estimated the 1960ies as their fabrication date after having executed a fiber samples analysis; then, the lining was made of artificial silk (rayon). The collector, Br. Bonaventura Schuster OSB acquired both garments around 1960. Groom's costumes from this time are extremely rare in Korea; therefore, the dallyeong continues to be an object of research.
Restoration of Korean scroll paintings
In 2018/19, the Overseas Korean Cultural Heritage Foundation executed conservation works on five Korean paintings. Restoration and mounting in the traditional scroll format was conducted by Jung-Jae Conservation Center (Seoul).
Three of the five paintings are rarities, as they are drawn with a leather brush; only a few samples of this technique are known in Korea. The painters, among them Hong Jae-man and Song Yeom-jo, were unknown in Korea up to the time of restoration and research. An interesting detail about the paintings is that they are supposed to be influenced or commissioned by missionaries, as Christian issues like trinity are addressed.
Conservation and restoration workshop
From July 3 - 6, 2018, the Overseas Korean Cultural Heritage Foundation (OKCHF) initiated a workshop about production and conservation techniques of traditional Korean scroll paintings at St. Ottilien.
The workshop was aimed at training European restorators in Korean techniques of paper handling and building a network between experts in museums and institutions outside Korea with collections holding Korean objects.
The restoration was demonstrated on the example of the Mission Museum's scroll Rainbow Painting by Song Yeom-jo. During the practical part, the participants, all of them experts for paper restoration in internationally renowned museums and other institutions, made themselves a scroll painting under the guidance of Prof. Chi-sun Park (professor of Cultural Preservation, Yongin University, Korea).
The Missionsmuseum is part of a network of ethnological museums, missionary or other collections and scientific institutions at home and abroad.
Professional advice, scientific exchange and loans of objects are key issues for collaborations. We would like to especially mention:
Overseas Korean Cultural Heritage Foundation (Seoul, South Korea)
This governmental organization from Seoul promotes research and adequate presentation of Korean heritage in institutions outside Korea and supports conservation and restoration of objects.
Other tasks are scientific research, documentation of museum inventories and surveillance of the international art market in order to identify illegally purchased Korean heritage.
Several teams of Overseas Korean Cultural Heritage Foundation (OKCHF) carried out a scientific investigation and provence research of the Mission Museum's Korea collection between 2015 and 2017.
During the longstandig collaboration with the OKCHF, our museum already donated several objects on our own initiative to South Korea.
> Link to OKCHF
Museum 5 Kontinente (Munich, Germany)
The Museum 5 Kontinente (5 Continents Museum), former Museum of Ethnology Munich, has historical connections to the Mission Museum since the 1920ies.
St. Ottilien's former archabbot Norbert Weber had contact and scientific exchange with the Ethnological Museum Munich's director, Lucian Sherman. When the Ethnological Museum had a job vacancy, archabbot Norbert Weber recommended St. Ottilien's studied ethnologist Fr. Meinulf Küsters OSB (1890 - 1947).
In 1927/28, Küsters collected in Tanganjika as well for the Ethnological Museum as for the Mission Museum. He designed the Africa presentations in both museums.
> Link to Museum 5 Kontinente
Linden Museum (Stuttgart, Germany)
This governmental museum in Stuttgart is with its 160.000 objects one of Europe's largest ethnological museums .
At a study meeting concerning missionary collections, the Mission Museum's management team got valuable advice concerning the presentation, which was complemented by further advisory service at Linden Museum.
> Link to Linden Museum
National Museum of Korea (Seoul, South Korea)
The National Museum of Korea in Seoul is one of South Koreas largest institutions and presents artefacts around Korea's history and culture.
Since 2015, the museum houses as a permanent loan 21 silk paintings by Korean painter Jeong Seon (1676-1759) from the Mission Museum's collection. Single paintings of the album are on display mostly in special exhibitions, as for example in 2022.
> Link to the National Museum of Korea
Benedictine Sisters of St. Hildegard (Eibingen on the Rhine, Germany)
The St. Hildegard Abbey at Eibingen on the Rhine has a restoration workshop for ecclesiastical records. There, the Mission Museum's Korean Map of the World (Gonyeo jeondo) was restored expertly in 2014/15.
The acquisition context of the map is unknown, supposedly it was bought by archabbot Norbert Weber. The map's original was created by Flemish Jesuit Ferdinand Verbiest in the 17th century, the museum's map is a Korean reprint from 1860.
The 8 panels of the World Map had to be separated from a folding screen. Lesions, pastings over the print, dirt and damages were restored in the best possible way.
> Link to St. Hildegard Abbey (in German)
Zoological State Collection (Munich, Germany)
The Zoological State Collection is one of the oldest and largest natural history research collections of the world. Besides its assignment to research, the institute supports natural history collections with advice.
Employees from the Zoological State Collection supported the Mission Museum in evaluating the conservation status of its mounted animals.
Part of St. Ottilien Fr. Johannes Häfliger's (1870 - 1955) insectarium was donated to the State Collection for scientific research.
> Link to the Zoological State Collection
Museum Mensch und Natur (Munich, Germany)
The Museum Mensch und Natur (Humans and Nature Museum) is a central exhibition forum of the Bavarian State Natural Science Collections and presents selected objects from the State Collections. Furthermore, biological and geological science results are presented to the visitors. The museum is one of Germany's most visited natural history museums.
The Museum Mensch und Natur supported the Mission Museum during restoration (2011 - 2015) with professional advice concerning preservation of our zoological collection.
> Link to the Museum Mensch und Natur
Korea National Arboretum and Forest Museum (Gwangneung, South Korea)
Over 500 year old Korea National Arboretum, which is situated north of Seoul, is also known as Gwangneung Forest, as it is embedded in a historical park. The arboretum commits itself to sientific research and conservation of Korea's plant stock.
A herbarium with 420 pages dating from 1913, collected by St. Ottilien's Fr. Andreas (André) Eckardt OSB, was donated to the Korea National Arboretum in 2015. This was the first time Korea got a botanical collection of endemic plants from abroad.
> Link to the Korea National Arboretum