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[Korea] Must-Visit Destination: DMZ Museum
非武裝區DMZ博物館開幕A museum dedicated to promoting tourism in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) opened its doors to the public on August 14, 2009. The DMZ, an area running between the borders of the two Koreas in which all military activity is forbidden, was established in 1953 during the Armistice Agreement, signed at the border village of Panmunjeom, otherwise known as a Joint Security Area. Despite the painful history that led to the creation of the DMZ, the DMZ museum now stands as a symbol of peace, contemporary efforts to mend the damages wrought by Korea’s tumultuous history, and even ecological preservation.

The DMZ Museum is comprised of four thematic exhibition halls, a special exhibition room, a theatre, and other facilities. The theatre screens 3-D movies about the Korean War, including one film that takes the audience back in time to the signing of the armistice and the creation of the DMZ (8 minutes). The theater also features a documentary on the ecology of the DMZ (7 minutes). The Special Exhibition Hall displays photographs and other materials regarding rare species found within the DMZ.

While holding the tragic vestiges of the Cold War within its halls, The DMZ Museum is committed to a message of peace. Ironically, the military buffer zone, where civilian entry has been forbidden for more than half a century, has become a bastion of ecological diversity, containing various rare species of animals and plants. The museum showcases the transformation of the DMZ itself into a symbol of hope, peace, and natural revival.

Information on the Exhibition Halls

ZONE 1- First Exhibition Hall- The DMZ Coming into Existence
The first exhibition hall focuses on the creation of the DMZ, and its significance as a remnant of the Cold War. Images of life in Korea after liberation from Japanese colonial rule and national division are also displayed here; these images illustrate the tragic consequences of the Korean War and national division from the 1950s. Digital technology and graphic art are used to examine the eruption of the Cold War and the tumultuous events leading to the Armistice Agreement of July 27, 1953.

Zone 2 –Second Exhibition Hall – Relics of the Cold War
The second exhibition hall displays the remains of the Korean War. The scars of war; bullets, barb wired fences and signboards showing the military demarcation line are exhibited here. Also, images of the people of the village of Cheorwon, depicting the tragedies and troubles faced by those living in the border area during the war are showcased in the exhibition hall.

Zone 3- Third Exhibition Hall – Treasure Trove of Ecology
The third exhibition hall showcases the ecological transformation of the demilitarized zone, which has become a haven for various rare species in the past half a century, depicting the DMZ as a place of natural co-existence and hope. A river runs through the floor of the exhibition hall to artfully express how nature has continued to thrive despite the challenges of the Cold War. Of particular interest in this exhibition hall is the Seungilgyo Bridge of Cheorwon, a symbol of co-existence, which has been remade and put on display, and illustrates the ardent desire for reunification on the Korean peninsula.

Zone 4- Fourth Exhibition Hall – A New Land of Hope for the Future
The fourth exhibition hall tells the story of national division and severance but also of the hope and desire for peace. A model railway, running straight through the border, connecting North and South together is exhibited. This “iron horse” which has been barred from crossing the border, is able to cross straight through the military demarcation line within this exhibition hall, heralding a message of peace and hope.

INFO
☞ Location: DMZ Museum, Myeongho-Songhyeon-ri, Hyeollae-myeon, Goseong-gun, Gangwon-do
☞ Getting There: by car or group tour by prior reservation through a travel agency.
(* Walking from the Unification and Security Park to DMZ Museum is prohibited / No Shuttle Bus.)
☞ By Car: Seoul Pangyo Tollgate (Gyeongbu Expressway)-> Singal IC (Wonju, Gangneung direction)-> Daegwallyeong Tunnel -> Intersection (Sokcho direction)-> Hyeonnam IC-> Yangyang, Sokcho direction -> National road No.7-> From Anam Plaza of downtown Sokcho, turn left -> Ganseong (take the detour road)-> Daedaeri Inspection Post-> Geojin-> Daejin-> Unification and Security Park->DMZ Museum
☞ For More Details: +82-33-681-0625
☞ Open Hours: 09:00-17:00 (Closed Mondays)
☞ Admission Fee: Adults 2,000won / Teenagers 1,400won / Children 1,000won
☞ Website: http://www.dmzmuseum.com/ (Korean)


※ Note that visitors must fill-out an application form at the Unification and Security Park and receive a short security-training session before being allowed into the DMZ Museum.
Date 08/25/2009