Established in 2014 and named after the late still-life painter Jun Sugimura, the museum acts as a springboard for learning about the city’s history through the lens of culture and the arts. The museum building, with its eye-catching arched architecture, was home to a thriving downtown community center during the mid-Showa era. It continues to fulfill that same function, of bringing people together—not only local residents, but also people from overseas who come to Shiogama, regardless of language or ethnicity.
Fun and interactive events are offered all year round at the museum. Kurashi no Ichi is a semi-annual open-market event which brings together local artisans of diverse backgrounds, while the Voyage Exhibition series showcases up-and-coming independent artists from the Tohoku region. The museum also hosts events associated with the Reborn Art Festival, a sprawling, two-month-long art biennale that takes place every other summer.
Like the exhibitions, nearly all of the events and workshops here are English-friendly. Some, like the English-friendly lacquer-brooch workshop, are available on a walk-in basis—no reservations required. English-friendly hands-on cultural programs include Japanese cultural experiences, like kimono dressing, and seasonal traditions like hanami. At the museum’s spring hanami event, visitors can sip wine and mingle with locals while viewing cherry blossoms.