Korean American organization fights to keep artifacts in the US

January 22, 2015
Korean Assemblymen Ahn Min-seok, left, and Seo Sang-ki examine an artifact Wednesday at the Korean National Association. (Park Sang-hyuk/Korea Times)

Korean Assemblymen Ahn Min-seok, left, and Seo Sang-ki examine an artifact Wednesday at the Korean National Association. (Park Sang-hyuk/Korea Times)

A collection of artifacts from the Korean independence movement in the U.S. finds itself in the middle of an administrative war.

The Korean National Association Memorial Foundation, which is in a legal battle with the Korean American History Preservation Committee over the administrative rights of the artifacts — namely, whether they should be sent to Korea or stay in the U.S. — said Wednesday it will allow the University of Southern California’s East Asian Library to digitally archive the objects.

The foundation said it had delivered the intention to the committee through a lawyer.

“In this situation where there is no realistic alternative, we cannot keep pushing back the preservation of these artifacts any longer,” said Kwon Young-shin, foundation director. “Before we hand over the artifacts to the Independence Hall of Korea, we’ve decided to have USC complete a digital archive.”

The committee opposes the foundation’s proposal that the artifacts be shipped to Korea. It said the artifacts are a clear representation of Korean American history and has said it wants the artifacts kept in the U.S. for preservation.

“After the completion of the digital archive, the artifacts must stay in America. We’re currently planning to raise money to find museum storage,” said Kim Si-myun, committee president.

A USC library source said they had not yet received an official proposal but said they are prepared to take in all costs for a digital archive for the artifacts.

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