Resources > National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage (NRICH)
06 Sep 2010

National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage (NRICH)

The National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage (NRICH), the only organization of its kind in Korea, carries out research, surveys and development projects for the proper recognition, conservation and usage of the nation's cultural treasures. Since the NRICH was established in 1969 as a division of the now-defunct Bureau of Cultural Heritage Administration, cultural heritage research has grown highly specialized and NRICH currently haS some 350 researchers working in the divisions of Archaeology, Artistic Heritage, Architectural Heritage, Intangible Cultural Heritage, Natural Heritage, and Conservation Science.

The main function of the NRICH is to conduct at state level research, excavation and survey, and conservation and restoration projects that are beyond the capabilities of university research teams or other organizations. Some of the projects NRICH has undertaken include publication of a biographical dictionary of Korean painters and calligraphers and a dictionary of archaeology, and research on standard categorization of Baekje earthenware.

Other important national projects now underway are the maintenance and repair of the stone pagoda at Mireuksa Temple site in Iksan, and research toward the restoration of Hwangnyongsa Temple site in Gyeongju. To investigate the history of local areas, the five regional branches of the NRICH are responsible for ongoing research in varied areas including the capital of Silla, the capital of Baekje, mountain fortresses, inscribed wooden tablets, pottery coffins, and temple sites.

Internationally, NRICH's focus is to make Korean cultural treasures known overseas and to conduct comparative studies. By promoting the correct history of Korea, we aim to prevent any historical distortion, and hence the scope of our research includes cultural artifacts and sites in neighboring countries. In this line we are pursuing excavation of a Balhae historical site in Primorsky Krai, Russia, and until recently conducted excavations of Goryeo Dynasty remains at Manwoldae, a palace site in Kaesong. Another important international project is the survey and cataloging of Korean artworks and artifacts in the possession of museums in other countries.

For the preservation and restoration of cultural heritage, the Cultural Heritage Conservation Science Center was opened in 2008. It handles almost all important cultural artefacts of National Treasure or Treasure level discovered at excavation sites around the country.

As the 21st century progresses the NRICH is making every effort to develop new research methods and expand facilities with the goal of becoming the most scientific and high-technology organization devoted to the research and conservation of cultural heritage.

The NRICH is also carrying out joint research with other organizations inside and outside Korea and active exchange of human resources, and through international exchange aims to spearhead moves to promote and raise recognition of Korean culture.