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Expanding museum by relocation – Kyushu University

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The following 2 steps introduce challenges faced by university museums in Japan. The first one is the Kyushu University Museum.

We delve into how the collection was reconsidered and reconnected with the community during its significant campus relocation between 2005 and 2018. Watch Ms. Mishima talk about how the museum expanded its community by using relocation as an opportunity.

Let’s take a closer look at the relocation of the museum, which was briefly introduced in the interview video.

About the Kyushu University’s relocation and museum

Kyushu University is a national university located in Fukuoka Prefecture. Since its foundation in 1911, the main campus was situated in Hakozaki, a central area close to terminal stations and the airport. From 2005 to 2018, the entire university relocated to the lush green Ito region in the outskirts.

Currently, the museum is located in the faculty of engineering main building on the Hakozaki campus site, where permanent exhibitions are open to the public. Meanwhile, the relocated Ito campus houses the Fujii Gallery, which focuses on special exhibitions, and storage rooms. Various faculties and departments within the Ito campus also feature a mix of large and small exhibition spaces and display cases.

Kyushu University's relocation and museum
Take a closer look

Fujii Gallary
Fujii Gallary


The faculty of engineering main building

About the Kyushu University historical furniture collection preservation and restoration project

The grassroots preservation project that Ms. Mishima is involved with resulted from the campus relocation. The Hakozaki campus had accumulated furniture, equipment, and machinery, like chairs, desks, and shelves, since the university’s establishment. However, many of these items became obsolete in the new location due to space constraints or mismatches with new lab structures and were subsequently discarded in large quantities without regard for their value.

As involving many people from within and outside the university was essential for the rescue, Ms. Mishima and her team even launched a crowdfunding campaign in 2018, which was a big success.

Reference: The crowdfunding effort in 2018 (in Japanese)

Voices from grassroots preservation partners

As introduced in the previous video interview, rescued furniture is used and preserved in several locations in the city. Let’s hear the story of Fukuoka Prefectural Art Museum café, which rents large bookshelves and integrates them into their interior design.

The cafe owner, Ms. Noriko Hanada, is one of the individuals connected to the Kyushu University Museum collection through her activities exploring the history and cultural assets of the Hakozaki region where the campus used to be.

Ms. Hanada
Photo

Q. How did it start?

“When the move was happening, many items, including glass ones, were being discarded. It felt wasteful. I couldn’t take them home, but then I learned that Ms. Mishima was collecting them through grassroots preservation.
When I wanted to rent this space (at the prefectural art museum café), I immediately asked Ms. Mishima if I could use them.”
Q. What’s the reaction from customers?
“They love it. They say it’s calming. Especially since people don’t often get to see or use such large pieces, that’s unique to this place.”
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Akichi in Collections Management: Perspectives from a Japanese University Museum

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