"We are thrilled to receive these distinguished, artistic excellence grants," said Carole Charnow President & CEO at Boston Children's Museum. "The National Endowment for the Arts and The Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership are both extraordinary cultural and innovative champions."
In 1979, in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Boston and Kyoto sister city relationship, citizens of Kyoto donated a house-a machiya from the neighborhood of Nishijin-to Boston. It came to be located within the walls of Boston Children's Museum. The process of reconstruction of the house itself was an exercise in bilateral exchange, as traditional Japanese carpenters accompanied the crates sent to Boston containing the house parts. The Japanese craftsmen rebuilt the machiya exactly the way they would have if they had been in the middle of Kyoto. Museum visitors were able to observe the construction and talk with the carpenters. Before returning to Kyoto, the carpenters donated the traditional carpentry tools they used to the Museum. Since its opening in April of 1980, the Kyo-no-Machiya (KNM) has provided unparalleled opportunities to teach Museum visitors about Japanese society and culture in a totally authentic environment. One of only a few examples of everyday domestic Japanese architecture from its period in this country, Kyo-no-Machiya is the heart of the Japanese Program at BCM.
NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman said, "NEA research shows that three out of four Americans participate in the arts. The diverse, innovative, and exceptional projects funded in this round will ensure that Americans around the country continue to have the opportunity to experience and participate in the arts."
The Museum will use these funds to build a website dedicated to the study of the Kyo no Machiya, a unique example of Japanese vernacular architecture open to the public at BCM since 1980. The website will feature a three-dimensional rendered immersive tour of the KNM, a 19th century silk merchant's home from Kyoto; archival film footage of its rebuilding in Boston; architectural and historical documents; a searchable on-line catalog of many artifacts associated with the house; and educational videos and curriculum about life in Kyoto today.
"CGP is very proud to be working with BCM, and we are excited to have educational materials for the Kyo no Machiya widely accessible to educators and the general public in an interactive online format," said Emily Chung, Associate Program Officer CGP.
This project will broaden our audience internationally to include educators, scholars, architects and all those interested in Japanese art, architecture, history, and culture.
BCM's hopes to expand learning and appreciation of Japanese culture and history, while also providing digital access to multimedia resources and artifacts related to the KNM.