* Following attractions currently closed: Seosomun Shrine History Museum, Donuimun Museum Village, Seoul Museum of Korean Folk Music, Seoul Urban Life Museum
As our daily life changes, the way we see and appreciate art changes with it. While there are many cultural spaces in Seoul to enjoy art, a few new locations skyrocketed to fame in 2019. Offering dynamic exhibitions and plenty of photo spots perfect for social media, people flock to these museums and galleries. What’s even better, they all have free admission! If you haven’t visited already, consider adding one of these new locations to your itinerary!
Seosomun Shrine History Museum commemorates the many Catholics who were persecuted and martyred outside Seosomun Gate in the late Joseon dynasty. Built in what was previously an underground public parking garage, the museum uses the basement levels 1-3 wonderfully to create a unique experience. The Consolation Hall in particular is very moving, playing soft music and videos to remember the Catholic martyrs. However, the location that impresses visitors most is the Sky Plaza, a grand open space that pays tribute to the memory of the martyrs. The simple yet stately walls block out all other distractions so that only the sky grabs the eye.
Jeongdong 1928 Art Center is located along Deoksugung Doldam-gil Road. Built in 1928, it was originally used by the Salvation Army for officer training and missionary work. These days, it serves as an exhibition and performance space. The first floor, previously an officer dormitory, has been transformed into the café Heyda. The café is decorated with vintage walls and interior, and plants for a unique atmosphere. The central area features an accordion and chairs upholstered in red velvet for a modern history vibe that translates well in photos. The exhibition space also became a hot spot after it was visited by Rap Monster of BTS.
Donuimun Museum Village is a collection of houses and shops from the recent past in the Donuimun Gate area. The entire village brings the 60’s and 80’s to life through interactive experiences. The most popular attractions are the Donuimun Club, a cultural exchange location for foreigners living in the area, and the Donuimun Computer Game Shop & Saemunan Comic Room, where visitors can try their hands at popular video games from the era, or read some comic books. Of course, if you’re looking for your next Instagram post, hop on the stage of Donuimun Club and grab the mic!
Music lovers have to visit the Seoul Museum of Korean Folk Music! Located in a modern hanok (traditional Korean building) across from Changdeokgung Palace, it is the first museum in Korea dedicated to folk songs. Listen to the various different folk songs in comfort in the music appreciation room; be sure to bring a tripod or a friend along to capture a stunning photo. Additional exhibition spaces include fun activities like learning to play the beat of a folk song, or putting together a puzzle.
Seoul Urban Life Museum brings new life to Seoul Bukbu Legal Complex, the previous site of the northern region’s court and prosecutor’s office. Exhibition halls spread throughout three floors showcase all aspects of life in Seoul from 1945 and onwards. The museum offers audio guides in English, Japanese, and Chinese, making it easy for all guests to enjoy. One of the most unique aspects of this museum is the Detention Center exhibition, where visitors can try on prisoner or guard uniforms from the past and take funny pictures together.
* This column was last updated in February 2020, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details before visiting.