on… Gramophones & Polymaths

Posted: 30/07/2012 in Asia, Culture, Design, Science
Tags: , , , , , ,

Gramophone & Edison  Museum (참소리축음기 & 에디슨과학 박물관)

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The Chamsori Gramophone & Edison Science Museum are just off the beach to the north of Gangneung, you need or take a taxi or bus to get there. I have to admit that it’s never been a huge interest of mine, but my guidebook recommended this place. It is, after all, the biggest collection of gramophones in the world!

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Both museums are next to each other on the road that circles the lake Gyeonghpoho, the beach is called Gyeongpo beach. After waiting too long for a bus from the train station I took a taxi to the beach then walked to the museum. The lake is very beautiful and you can hire bikes to cycle round it.

The museum was curated by an eccentric gentleman called Son Seongmok. It has a collection of 4,500 phonographs, 150,000 phonograph records, 1,000 books, and 5,000 items from 20 nations. The place is very well organised even though I walked round the wrong way. It’s divided into sound, image, lights, inventions, and upstairs there is a smaller toy museum which will get bigger.20120730_103231

The history of sound displays the famous phonograph from England, familiar to anyone who has been in an HMV store (His master’s Voice). There are also record players and all sorts of organs. On the guided tour someone will show you how they work and play a few tunes.

World of Image displays silent films and some of the early television sets made by John Logie Baird. If you have been to the museum in Bradford, England then it may seem a little small. What you have to remember is that this is all the brainchild of one enthusiast.

 

 

Thomas_Edison2The Light and invention areas (Edison’s Invention Hall)were the most interesting because you can see the history of Edison’s ideas that eventually led to some of the things we take for granted, the light bulb being jut one of those things. He tinkered and experimented with all manner of things. He is one of the most perfect examples of a polymath I have seen. Edison, like many freethinkers, didn’t do well in school. He was not liked by his teachers who considered his brain addled. He left school early and was educated at home by his mother, and in the real world where he got the opportunity to test his ideas. He has over 1000 patents to his name, and aside from the inventions it was his reasoning and scientific method that has been his greatest legacy. It’s fair to say that his work at Menlo Park was the beginning of what we now call Research and Development.

 

Is the museum the best I have seen? No. Is it the best collection? No. However, the museum is a wondrous place because it catalogues enthusiasm. In the wrong context this museum would be seen as  a strange obsession, but it’s not. Son Seongmok has travelled all over the world and met many famous people. Apparently, he came from North Korea and his only possession was a gramophone. Despite the obvious theme of the gramophones Son Seongmok clearly has many interests, like his hero Edison. The exhibits show his interest in popular culture, 20th century music and fame, Hollywood, toys, trinkets and countless other things. In a country where education is very rigid and conventional this museum is vital because it shows that with an enquiring mind and boundless enthusiasm, we are capable of anything. If a person follows their passion and enthusiasm they can achieve great things without the conventional academic accolades.

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Getting there from Seoul:

Dongseoul Terminal from 06:00 – 11:00 every 30 to 50 mins 3 hours journey time.

Buses are more frequent from Express Terminal in Seoul (every 15 mins).

From Gangneung City Centre: 202 bus goes to Gyengpo Beach then round the lake.

There is a tourist information office outside the Bus station and Train station. The bus station has been more reliable on my visits, they have a little print out of all the city buses you may need.

 

 

 

 

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