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02/27/2017 Special > Special

Title

[CULTURE] Museums Worth Visiting

Museums of history, art and science in Seoul and its outskirts

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The National Museum of Korea

The National Museum of Korea, situated in Yongsan-gu, Seoul, is the biggest and most loved museum of Korean and Asian history. The museum mainly features artifacts and treasures from prehistoric times to the Joseon Dynasty and the Korean Empire. The collection also includes relics from China, Japan, and middle, eastern, and southern Asia.
 
The National Museum of Korea. Click here to visit its homepage.
(Photo courtesy of Ezy Economy)

 
Some of the museum’s most famous collections are the massive Ten-Story Pagoda of Gyeongcheonsa Temple site from the Goryeo Dynasty, and the Genre Painting Album of Danwon, a famous painter who drew ordinary people’s daily life in the Joseon Dynasty. Other notable artifacts are the golden crown and girdle of Silla during the Three Kingdoms period and Pensive Bodhisattva statue from the same period. Admission is free, although costs for special exhibitions may vary. Currently, the special exhibition “Egyptian Treasures from the Brooklyn Museum” is on display.

 
Ten-Story Pagoda of Gyeongcheonsa Temple site (top right),  Dancing Child from Genre Painting Album of Danwon (top left),  golden crown and girdle (bottom right), and Pensive Bodhisattva statue (bottom left).
(Photos courtesy of Daum and Naver blogs)
 
There is a tourist program in the museum for foreigners called “Korean Culture”, which includes Korea’s traditional cultural activities such as Korean painting and calligraphy, and making lacquerware inlaid with mother-of-pearls and Korean seals. Guided tours for foreigners are provided in English, Chinese, and Japanese. Near the National Museum of Korea, The National Hangeul Museum is located, which is about Hangeul’s history, design, and the principles behind it.

To pay a visit to the National Museum of Korea, take a subway and get off at Ichon station on the Jungang Line and Line 4. The museum is open every day except the 1st of January, Seollal, and Chuseok
 

Seoul Museum of Art


The Seoul Museum of Art, or SeMA, comprises three separate museums- the Main Building in Seosomun-dong, Jung-gu, Nam[South]-Seoul Branch near Sadang metro station in Gwanak-gu, and the Buk[North]-Seoul Branch in Nowon-gu. Art exhibitions of all sorts are held in these two museums, spanning vast genres of art from paintings and photography to fashion, design and film. SeMA mainly displays artworks by Korean artists, both young and old, including the permanent exhibition of a famous Korean painter Cheon Kyeong-ja. In addition, Western and non-Western artworks are also displayed in SeMa, and a Latin American arts exhibition is to be opened this year. Currently, at SeMA Seosomun Museum of Art, a special exhibition called “Renoir: Images of Women” is being held.
 
The Seosomun Main Building of SeMA. Click here to visit its homepage.
(Photo courtesy of Robert Walters Korea)

SeMA holds its own biennale, called SeMA Biennale Mediacity Seoul, which focuses on contemporary art- especially media art. Artists from Korea and all over the world participate in the event. The latest Biennale was held in 2016, with the next one expecting to be held in 2018. There are lots of different educational programs offered: a ceramic clay modeling course and an oriental painting course for foreigners can be registered for at the Nam-Seoul Living Arts Museum. SeMA is closed every Monday and on January 1st.
 

Gwacheon National Science Museum

Gwacheon National Science Museum is in the city Gwacheon, Gyeonggi-do, near Seoul Grand Park. It stands as one of the most representative science museums in Korea. The museum covers a broad range in science. By visiting the museum, one can briefly explore the world of the fundamental sciences, such as biology, chemistry and physics. Advanced scientific technology can also be glimpsed upon.

The museum features the scientific development of ancient Korea, such as the turtle ship devised by Joseon's naval commander Yi Sun-shin, and  geojunggi, a pulley created to be used when constructing the Hwaseong fortress in the city of Suwon by Jeong Yak-yong. There is a planetarium, an astronomical observatory, and an insect ecology center there as well.
 
Gwacheon National Science Museum. Click here to visit its homepage.
(Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning's Daum blog)

The museum offers on hands-on scientific experience, and tries to make science more approachable for both the young and the old. For instance, one can experience the operations of a Tesla coil and plasma phenomena, as well as seeing various sea animals, insects and fossils. Visiting the Gwacheon Science Museum with children is highly recommended. The admission fee for adults is 4,000 won, and 2,000 won for children. The museum is closed on Mondays and on January 1st. 



Jang Soo-hyun        luxkari@hanyang.ac.kr
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