Gwacheon Museum is a memorable place for me, children, and many science enthusiasts in South Korea. For me, it was more than just a place that brought good memories. It was the place where I had spent my childhood kindling my curiosity, and currently, it is the place where I volunteer for the community. Out of the many people enrolled for voluntary service, only a few were accepted into the community service project for the museum; I was accepted as a part of the “Supporters” program. I went to Gwacheon Museum for service two times so far, on April 8th and April 15th, and plan to continue to go there whenever I have time on Sundays.
The voluntary work procedure varies upon the date and the amount of volunteers available. If there are a lot of volunteers, then the workers are evenly distributed to each exhibit in the museum (in both of my experiences, I was working in the exclusive “Space Exploration section”). If there are not a lot of voluntary workers (on April 15th, there were a total of 4 voluntary workers in Gwacheon in the “Space Exploration section”), then the workers are distributed in the most important exhibits. During April 15th, the volunteers were maintaining, sphero drones and an ongoing air-powered rocket simulator that engages the children to participate in “launching” the rocket by stepping on a large bag of air.
|[Maze activity with drones in Gwacheon Museum: Photo taken by: Matthew Choi
on April 15th 2018]
|[Air Rocket simulation in Gwacheon Museum:
Taken by: Matthew Choi April 15th]
During both of these days, the volunteers worked for 50 minutes per hour and got 10 minute breaks in between. Along with that, we had an hour-long lunch break at noon. For a lot of volunteers, it was a very rigorous task to help the public, since it required them to stand for hours at a time.
|[Model Satellite(right) and a computer screen showing coordinates,
April 8th: Taken by: Matthew Choi]
|[Model Satellite(right) and a computer screen showing coordinates, camera footage and GPS(left)
April 8th: Taken by: Matthew Choi]
During my time in the exhibits, a lot of children were passing by the museum, and I noticed that it was usually the children who were motivated to explore the depths of science. Along with that, it seemed as if they were visiting the museum to try to enhance their knowledge. With that in mind, I also thought of how it was currently the “technological era,” or possibly even the “prime time” of the human race. Some part of me felt embarrassed that these children were more motivated to pursue their careers than I was, and I was even asked this question by some parents and children: “Why do you participate in voluntary works here? Is it to promote your planned scientific career?” This question further enveloped my mind before I realized one fact: I was here not just to stand in the midst of children and help them. It was to explore what I wanted to be and why.
|[A voluntary worker explaining a display to children (unseen in pic)
April 8th: Taken by Matthew Choi]
My time at the museum helping children helped me understand not only the role of voluntary service in the community, but also brought clarity on who I was, and what purpose I had in the community. The answer to that? That is a conclusion only I can reach, and if anyone else were to take that question, they should do the same, for the only way to understand oneself is to ponder about it while thinking about one’s role in society. Personally, I found myself to be a member of society who was willing to help others while pursuing my own lifelong desires.
Asia Pacific International School
Matthew Choi firstname.lastname@example.org
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