WHEELING, Ill. — Major developments are in the works for a center dedicated to preserving and sharing Korean American culture.

“It’s a variety of experiences and cultures of Korea visible through physical objects,” Julia Hwang, the Collection Manager from the Korean Cultural Center of Chicago, said.

Hwang manages the museum collection at the Korean Cultural Center of Chicago 

“I’m really happy I get to work something connected to my ancestral line and my history, culture that is fetishized or glazed over,” Hwang said.

The center’s space in Wheeling just underwent major renovations with an assortment of arts and community development programs.

Earlier this year, the center was selected for a Donnelly Foundation “Broadening Narratives” grant to help fund work to document the oral histories of Korean immigrants who settled in the Chicago area. 

“First-generation immigrants are aging now so it’s critically important for us to capture their stories,” Kay Kihwa Rho, the executive director of the Korean Cultural Center said.

Preservation and appreciation of Korean American experiences are central to the cultural center’s mission.  

“We want to be able to pass down cultural heritage to our future generation. Within that community, we want to spread that experience,” board member Mira Im said.

Last week, they celebrated the groundbreaking for the new Bisco Hall, which will serve as a performing arts center also hosting events and Korean weddings.

It should be completed by next spring. 

“This history and connection to our roots is available and that history and learning curve even if you’re not Korean this is something available to you,” Hwang said.

On Saturday, May 6 the center is hosting a children’s day celebration on Saturday, May 6.