|History, Culture, and More at Cheongwadae Sarangchae|
Situated in Jongno-gu, Seoul, Cheongwadae Sarangchae used to be the official residence of the Chief Secretary to the President and any of the President’s work related to the duties as head of the executive branch took place there. Thus, access by the general public had been restricted. However, in February 1996, Cheongwadae Sarangchae was remodeled as the Hyoja-dong Reception Room to provide convenient services to the public. In 2010, the facility was renovated to include two above ground floors and one underground floor and was once again reopened as the Cheongwadae Sarangchae. In 2014, the area in front of the building was also renovated to include an artificial hill made of stone and about 150 or so types of indigenous wild flowers and grass.
Currently, the building houses a Korean Culture Exhibit Hall, Special Exhibit Hall, Souvenir Shop, Cheongwadae Hall, Haengboknuri Hall, and Korean Food Promotion Hall. Read on to learn more about Cheongwadae Sarangchae and what is has to offer guests interested in traditional Korean culture, craftworks, food, and hands-on programs.
Korean Culture Exhibit Hall and Special Exhibit Hall
The Korean Culture Exhibit Hall is on the first floor of the Cheongwadae Sarangchae and presents materials that give a glimpse into the lives of the Korean people. Mainly exhibiting the history and changes of Korean clothing, visitors can see exhibits of clothes and accessories worn by Koreans. The exhibits are divided by social class, so visitors can see what the royal family, nobles and commoners wore in the past. Next to the Korean Culture Exhibit Hall is the Special Exhibit Hall, which hosts a variety of exhibits. Currently, the “Wild flowers of Korea, from Mt. Baekdu to Mt. Halla” exhibit will run from May 27 to September 28, 2014.
Haengboknuri Hall and Cheongwadae Hall
The Haengboknuri Hall and Cheongwadae Hall on the second floor also house exhibition halls with materials on Korea’s past presidents and the future aspirations of the country. The Cheongwadae Hall presents the history of previous Korean Presidents through exhibitions of their keepsakes, a Gallery of the First Ladies, the heads of state visitor log, and the four seasons of Cheongwadae. Visitors can also see videos introducing the roles and duties of guards who are responsible for the President’s security as well as the security of international events held in Korea.
Cheongwadae Experience Zone
There are a number of hands-on zones and interactive photo and video exhibits inside the Cheongwadae Hall. Visitors can experience a variety of unique and fun multimedia exhibits, including a photo zone to take pictures with the current President, the Cheongwadae interactive cyber tour, the photo zone of the President’s office, and the Taekwondo experience screen. Next to the entrance on the first floor is a place where visitors can receive a souvenir stamp to commemorate their visit to Cheongwadae Sarangchae.
Korean Food Promotion Hall
The Korean Food Promotion Hall organizes a Korean food making program for visitors. Visitors must make an e-mail reservation prior to visiting and the availability is on a first-come, first-served basis. Visitors can watch a demonstration on how dishes like bibimbap or japchae are made before trying the dishes themselves. The cooking class offers English, Japanese, or Chinese translation services and the facility uses multiple screens to show the entire cooking process. The participation fee is around 10,000 won per person and the dishes can vary by season.
Located on the first floor, the Souvenir Shop sells badges, cell phone accessories, hanji (Korean paper) fans, celadon tea sets, nacre hair bands, bags and other Korean themed souvenirs.