National Museum Of Korea (국립중앙박물관)

Friday, 26 February 2016

(Due to the poor lighting in the National Museum of Korea, I manually changed my camera settings to a higher ISO which resulted in grainier images. But for some reason, I didn't realise the cause of the problem until I got back to Sydney—and for the remainder of our trip in Seoul, I was even confused and wondering WHY my camera was giving me such bad quality photos at places with good lighting. Therefore, please excuse the decrease in quality of my photos in the following posts. #urgh #ihatemyself #rookiemistake)



I'm not usually a big fan of museums, but I think that you should always visit (at least) one when you're in a foreign country. We chose the National Museum of Korea (국립중앙박물관), which is the largest museum in Korea and 6th largest in the world. In order to protect the artifacts inside the museum, the main building is even made withstand earthquakes of a magnitude of 6.0 on the Richter scale.







When we first arrived, I was blown away by the size of the building—it was massive! In fact, I think I was more excited about grounds surrounding the museum than what was displayed inside, such as the Cheongjajeong Pavilion (청자정); Geowul Pond (거울못); and the Open Plaza, where you can see views of the Seoul skyline. To me, the design of the museum was pretty impressive because it managed to blend both contemporary and traditional styles of architecture very harmoniously together.





The museum is divided into two exhibition areas: the Permanent Exhibition Hall and the Special Exhibition Hall. Admission is free for the Permanent Exhibition Hall, which houses items from the prehistoric to modern times on the first floor; calligraphy, paintings and donated works on the second floor; and an Asian gallery on the third. But if you're more interested in cultural arts events and programs, the Special Exhibition Hall is also open to visitors the other side of the building for a separate fee payable.





My favourite exhibit was the Ten-Story Pagoda (경천사십층석탑) from the Gyeongcheonsa Temple Site. Standing at 13 metres in height, the pagoda is made entirely out of marble and is over 650 years old!



As I'm more interested in storytelling aspects of history—especially of the Joseon Dynasty, I couldn't really admire nor appreciate most of the artifacts that were on display. But overall, it was an interesting walk through nonetheless. (I think the museum's architecture and surrounding grounds alone are worth the visit!) There are a lot of artifacts to see inside, so if you're a history buff, I'd suggest allowing at least 2 hours for your visit to the museum.



National Museum Of Korea (국립중앙박물관)
137 Seobinggo-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
서울 용산구 서빙고로 137

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