On October 28th, the doors to the National Museum of Korea reopened to the public and ever
since then, tons of visitors come in and out these doors on a daily basis from the time it opens to the time it
closes. It’s been a huge success since its reopened. The first day had over 19,100 visitors, the following day,
Oct. 29, had a record of 35,300 visitors, and on Sunday, Oct. 30, a total of 41,500 people came to visit the museum.
On the fourth day, which was a Monday, there were 20,800 visitors. During the first four days of its reopening,
the museum had more than 116,000 visitors.
What could explain this phenomena; this exodus of visitors? Is it because it’s free and
people just want to get in from the cold? It does imply something; that the public has a fond interest and
appreciation for Korean history and culture. After 8 long years, this museum, one of the world’s 6th largest
museums, finally reopened its doors and reintroduced itself to the public. Whatever the reason may be, the National
Museum of Korea is overjoyed at the large crowds gathering at its doors.
☞ The Museum’s Layout
The National Museum of Korea is composed of the main exhibition areas for permanent
exhibitions, and an area for non-permanent exhibitions. It also offers a ‘Children’s Museum’to provide an
educational atmosphere and hands-on experience for children to enhance their understanding of exhibited works. The
Museum also has an outdoor garden exhibiting various Buddhist stone structures. In total, the Museum is comprised
of four major exhibition areas.
☞ Your Enjoyment Triples at the Exhibition Halls
The Museum’s permanent exhibition galleries consist of three floors, and as you enter
the Museum, a long hall lies straight across to the end of the Museum. This hall is the Historical Gallery, and it
functions to divide the permanent exhibitions halls into the northern hall and southern hall. The ceiling allows
soft natural light to flow warmly into the Museum. Along the Historical Gallery stands the Bukgwandaecheopbi Stone
Structure, which was reclaimed from Japan one hundred years on Oct. 20, 2005. This stone structure is temporarily
on display, and will be returned to North Korea in the near future, therefore if you wish to view this historical
work of art, you should hurry and go see it at the Museum.
At the end of the Historical Gallery stands the Gyeongcheonsa Shipcheung Seoktap Stone
Structure, high and proud. This work of art can be seen from any direction within the Museum. For a closer look
you can take the escalator from the first floor to the third floor and view the structure.
The southern end of the permanent exhibition hall on the first floor holds the
Archeological Gallery, displaying works from the Paleolithic period to the Unified Shilla Balhae. The northern end
of the Historical Gallery holds nine exhibition halls displaying works from the Goryeo to Josun period. One of the
most sought out exhibition halls in the Historical Gallery is the Balhae Exhibition Hall, which is newly on display
since the reopening of the Museum. The most popular exhibition is in the Shilla Exhibition Hall in the Historical
Gallery, and has a brilliant golden crown with a golden belt excavated from Gyeongju’s Hwangnamdaechong Bukbun.
As you reach the second floor, the Fine Arts Gallery I and the Donations Gallery awaits.
The northern end of the second floor is the Fine Arts Gallery which holds hieroglyphic works including calligraphy,
hieroglyph, Buddhist calligraphy, and wood and lacquer works. The southern end of the second floor is the Donations
Gallery which holds works donated by eleven donators.
The southern end of the third floor is the Asian Arts Gallery, which is newly installed
after its reopening of the Museum. The gallery holds major works of art from various Asian countries, consisting of
Indonesian Art, Central Asian Art, Chinese Art, Nangnang Remains, Relics from Sinan Seabed, and Japanese Art. The
Fine Arts Gallery II is on the northern end of the third floor, where works of White Porcelain, Buddhist Sculptures,
and Metal Arts are on display. The Buddhist Sculpture Hall is very popular for its exhibited works because it shows
the essence of Korean Buddhism and Buddhist sculpture. The most popular sculpture is the National Treasure No. 83,
The non-permanent exhibitions exhibit a variety works from a variety of themes. It’s
suggested that you stop by the non-permanent exhibitions on your way out from the permanent exhibition halls.
The Children’s Museum focuses on offering hands-on experience for children and
teachers. For the children who are always hearing “please do not touch” almost everywhere they go, this museum is
like paradise for curious children. Because this museum’s focus is on a hands-on experience, there is a limit to
the number of visitors allowed in at a single time. At the ticket office, you’ll be informed of what time your
admissions ticket is; therefore it is wise to check the time.
Pagoda Garden (Outdoor Museum)
The Pagoda Garden displays a total of ten national treasures, including the
Boshingakjong Bell, stone pagodas, stone monuments, and more. You can enjoy viewing these works while taking a
relaxing stroll in the outdoor garden.
① No Time? Be Selective!
The permanent exhibition halls have been divided into smaller
galleries to allow the visitors to pick and choose the galleries they wish to view. The Museum is very large in
scale; therefore even a quick browse through the Museum could take more than eleven hours. Thus, it may be wiser
for visitors to select the exhibitions they are interested in. The National Museum of Korea offers a variety of
tour courses including Top 50 Works, and Top 100 Works. Log on to the museum’s homepage to download the directions
of the tour course you would like so that you may enjoy the best of what the Museum can offer you within a short
period of time. The Museum also offers tour courses for children, and theme courses.
② For the Meticulous Spectator, Invest More Than One Day.
“Instead of trying to see the entire Museum in one day, come
back several times and take time to enjoy all that the Museum has to offer,” says Lee Geon Moo, director of the
Museum. As Lee suggests, if you want to see the entire museum in detail, it will take more than one day. Just the
Archeological Gallery and Historical Gallery alone takes at least six hours to view. A recommended course is to
view the Archaeological Gallery, then take a coffee or snack break at the café near the Gyeongcheonsa Shipcheung
Stone Structure. Next, look around the Historical Gallery, and move on to the Donation Gallery, and last but not
least, view the non-permanent exhibitions. This will take a full day. On the second day of your visit, look around
the second floor of the Museum; enjoy some snacks and drinks at the Food Court or the restaurants or cafés, then
move on to the third floor. Afterwards, you can take a stroll through the outdoor museum at the Pagoda Garden. A
walk by the nearby lake is also a recommended course at the Museum for a fresh breath of air and relaxation.
③ The Children’s Museum is a Must-See for Child-Visitors
If you are visiting the Museum with a child, then it is strongly
recommended that you visit the Children’s Museum. To add to your child’s learning experience, it is recommended
that you go on the tour courses offered by the Museum.
④ Don’t Rush Through, Relax and Enjoy.
In the National Museum of Korea, many areas for relaxation have
been installed for visitors. To avoid weariness while walking around the Museum, take some time to sit and relax
leisurely at the various relaxation areas provided by the Museum.
⑤ 3 Ticket Offices to Choose From.
The line waiting to receive the free admissions ticket is
anywhere between a couple meters to several hundred meters. However, visitors tend to gather at the ticket office
by a Café called “Mannam” and the ticket office in front of the non-permanent exhibition hall. So, to avoid the
long lines, you can stop by the ticket office, which is located near the Reflecting Pond.
⑥ Let the Digital Guide Escort You.
The National Museum of Korea offers a PDA and MP3 tour guide for
₩3,000 and ₩1,000. When you stand in front of the work of art, the guide will begin to give explanations about the
work, and the PDA also acts as a GPS function. You can rent these digital guides by the Information Desk in front
of the permanent exhibition halls. You need to fill out a form first to rent these digital guides. They are offered
in English, Japanese, and Chinese, which makes it convenient to tour and understand the displays at the museum.
⑦ Don’t Be Afraid to Use the Information Desk.
At the Information Desk, friendly guides are ready and waiting
to answer any questions you might have in English, Japanese, and Chinese. A museum introduction pamphlet in the
three languages is also provided at the Information Desk. Feel free to use this service provided at the Information
▒ Exhibits Do Not Appreciate This!
1, Please do NOT use your FLASH when
2, NO food or drinks are allowed in the
3, Do NOT touch the plexiglass windows
surrounding the exhibits or the exhibitions.
▒ Detailed Information
Address : 168-6 Yongsan-dong 6
ga, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Korea
Phone : +82-2-2077-9000 (English,
Homepage : http://www.museum.go.kr
Admissions(20 or more for group
1, Free Admissions from Oct. 28 – Dec.
2, From Jan. 1, 2006
Adults (Ages 19-64) : Individual -
₩2,000 / Group - ₩1,500
Children (Ages 7-18) : Individual -
₩1,000 / Group - ₩500
* Admissions for the Children’s Museum:
Ages 7-64 ₩500
* Free Admissions for visitors under the
age of 7 or above the age of 64.
Weekdays: Tuesday – Friday : 09:00 –
Weekends: Sat, Sun, Holidays : 09:00 –
* Ticket Office Hours : Open until 1
hour prior to Museum’s closing hour
Closed : Every Monday starting
from January 2006
Free Admissions : Every fourth
Saturday starting from Jan. 2006
Group Admissions : Internet
reservations required 1 week prior to visit
* Group of 20 or more. The maximum
number of reservations per day is 3,600 persons
>> Link to detailed Information of the National Museum of Korea