Partnership with the National Museum of Japanese History
In March 2017, Durham University Vice-Chancellor, Prof Stuart Corbridge, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Museum of Japanese History, known popularly in Japan as Rekihaku. Director-General of NMJH, Prof Hiroshi Kurushima, was present and signed the MOU. This agreement underpinned a research and engagement partnership between the Durham University and Rekihaku.
The five-year agreement brought together specialists from the Oriental Museum and Rekihaku to work on a wide range of projects. These include promoting Durham University’s outstanding Japanese collections to visitors by making improvements to the permanent displays; enhancing the offer for schools; and undertaking cross-disciplinary collaborative research. In addition, the agreement brought leading Japanese specialists to Durham to work with students studying a range of subjects. Notable among the achievements of the partnership was the MA Museum Studies student exhibition marking the 150th anniversary of the Meiji Restoration.
In February 2022 the MOU was renewed via a hybrid ceremony that involved curators in Japan, the USA and UK as well as representatives from the Japanese Embassy.
The renewal of the agreement coincided with the launch of the exhibition Monogatari: the art of storytelling in Japanese Woodblock Prints. This exhibition was co-curated by curators at the Oriental Museum and Rekihaku based on joint research into the JP Scott Collection, a major new collection of Japanese woodblock prints donated to the Oriental Museum.
At the current time, curators are working together on a exhibition to be displayed at Rekihaku in summer 2024. This will focus on the collections of the Squire family who lived in Japan during the Meiji Era before returning to the UK to live in the Northeast of England.