Discovering Korea’s Past: Interdisciplinary Connections

Summer Institute for Educators

Monday, June 25–Wednesday, June 27, 2018
9 am–4 pm each day

Limited to 30 participants.

Discovering Korea’s Past, a three-day institute, is especially designed for educators in grades 5 through 12, particularly those who teach visual arts, social studies, world history, and the Korean language.

This summer institute combines socio-historical and art historical information with hands-on learning and practical application. As a result of the workshop, educators will be able to:

  • Increase knowledge about Korean history and cultural achievements of the Goryeo dynasty (935–1392), a period noted for its artistic achievements and intensified interactions with China and eastern Central Asia
  • Understand Buddhist practice and its influence on Korean art and culture
  • Learn about and apply ceramic processes
  • Design online learning resources for the classroom
  • Develop teaching strategies and lesson plans that explore connections among the visual arts, social studies, and world history

During the summer institute, educators will:

  • Engage with a curator on a guided tour to examine Korean celadon and archaeological material from the Goryeo dynasty (935–1392)
  • Participate in gallery activities
  • Go behind the scenes of the museums
  • Experiment with incising and inlay at District Clay Center
  • Create online learning collections via the Smithsonian’s Learning Lab platform
  • Take the learning back to classrooms with a digital collection of the institute’s topics, including engagement strategies for students
  • Opt to receive a stipend upon the successful development of a lesson plan, digital interactive, or online resource devoted to the Korean art collections at the Freer|Sackler

Program Format and Resources

Each day begins at 9 am in the Conference Room of the Freer Gallery of Art. Breakfast, refreshments, and lunch are provided daily. Transportation to and from District Clay Center is also provided.
Participants must bring a laptop computer (either Mac or PC). Please download Google Chrome for an optimal experience.


This Summer Institute for Educators is limited to 30 participants. The registration deadline is Friday, May 11, 2018; a non-refundable $30 fee is due upon registration.

Transportation and Housing

Participants are responsible for their own travel and housing arrangements and related costs. Transportation to and from District Clay Center is provided.


Please direct any questions about the Summer Institute for Educators to Jennifer Reifsteck, Education Specialist, K–12 Learning. Send your email to

About District Clay Center

District Clay Center (DCC) is the largest and most complete ceramics arts center in the District of Columbia and the surrounding metropolitan area.

More than just a studio, a school, or a shared workspace, the facility caters to a diverse community of artists at all skill levels. It offers physical spaces for different programs and for every type of ceramic artist.

About Korean Celadon Ceramics at the Freer|Sackler

Bowl with molded and carved lotus decoration
Bowl with molded and carved lotus decoration; Korea, 12th century; stoneware with celadon glaze; Gift of Charles Lang Freer, F1907.313

In the late nineteenth century, long-respected tombs of royal figures and nobility from the Goryeo period (935–1392) became vulnerable to looting. Celadon and other cherished possessions of the deceased, preserved as burial offerings, were plundered and sold in the antiquities market. American doctor and diplomat Horace Newton Allen witnessed this rediscovery while he lived in Seoul from 1884 to 1905, and he formed his own sizeable collection of celadon, it seems, from objects on the open market. Charles Lang Freer, the founder of the Freer Gallery of Art, purchased Allen’s collection in 1907. His large acquisition of Allen’s ceramics sparked Freer’s deep interest in this distinguished Korean ware.

About Goryeo Buddhist Paintings at the Freer|Sackler

Buddha Amitabha (Amita) and the Eight Great Bodhisattvas
Buddha Amitabha (Amita) and the Eight Great Bodhisattvas; Korea, mid to late 14th century; hanging scroll (mounted on panel); ink, color, and gold on silk; Gift of Charles Lang Freer, F1906.269

Specialists have identified 150 or so authentic Goryeo Buddhist paintings worldwide. Unlike monumental murals painted directly on the walls of grand temple halls, these detailed images were intended for close viewing in intimate settings. Modern scholars believe such images were produced both to aid private meditation and symbolically to guide mortal souls to paradise at the time of death. The prevalence of Pure Land deities and visions of their paradise supports this understanding.


Discovering Korea’s Past:  Interdisciplinary Connections Summer Institute for Educators is generously sponsored by the Korea Foundation.

[Korea Foundation Logo]

Contact Us

For questions, please call 202.633.5377 or email