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Late Madam Cho Chang-soo decorated with Order of Cultural Merit, Okgwan

Elder sister of famed ROK Army Lt. Cho Chang-Ho

Late Madam Cho Chang-soo

decorated with Order of Cultural Merit, Okgwan

The government of the Republic of Korea has decided to posthumously honour the late former Curator Madam Cho Chang-soo (1925-2009) of the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in the United States with an Order of Cultural Merit, Okgwan. Madam Cho dedicated her entire life to the introduction of Korean history and culture to the general public in the US, thus promoting the American people’s understanding of the Korean history and culture. The presentation ceremony will take place at the National Palace Museum on Dec. 10, 2013.

Madam Cho also made great efforts for the return of Eobo (Official Seal) of Emperor Gojong and Emperor Sunjong of the Joseon Dynasty and a total of 93 other Korean cultural treasures and properties to Korea?through fund-raising and donations.

The late Madam Cho Chang-soo (left) and her son, General Manager Eric Swanson of Millennium Seoul Hilton

The late Madam Cho is the mother of General Manager Eric Swanson of the Millennium Seoul Hilton. She is also the elder sister of the widely known late Lieutenant Cho Chang-Ho who succeeded in escaping North Korea and returning to Seoul after 43 years of captivity in North Korea where he got silicosis from forced labor in coal mine pits where he had been sent because of his repeated attempts of escape to the South after his captivity during the Korean.

Madam Cho at her university graduation ceremony

Madam Cho studied at the universities in Japan and the US and worked as a curator at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum for 44 years from 1965 to 2009--playing an important role in various areas, including exhibitions, research work, publication and education. In 2007, she even succeeded in establishing a Korea Hall at the Smithsonian Museum.

Madam Cho (seated at center) with fellow workers at the Smithsonian Institute

There are a number of other recipients of the Cultural Orders, who include Director Lee Kang-bak of Gangneung Institute (Order of Cultural Merit, Eungwan) and Professor Yoon Sae-young of Korea University (Order of Cultural Merit, Bogwan).

The late Lt. Cho Chang-Ho.

이경식 기자  edt@koreapost.com

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