The weather in Korea has finally reached what feels like winter and we’re just getting started with December. This week marks the last week of classes and everyone is getting into study mode as they prepare for finals.
Knowing very well that I’m gonna be head buried under the books, I spent my weekend prior de-stressing as much as I could. So a couple of friends and myself headed over to the National Museum of Korea to explore and take a quick break from our studies.
It is the largest museum in South Korea and it houses various cultural assets dating back to many years of history, from ancient times all the way to modern era. In addition to galleries with a wide array of national and international pieces, the National Museum of Korea is the stage for a number of cultural activities related to collection, preservation, research and analysis, social training, academic publications, intercultural exchange programs, concerts, and more.
Visitors of all ages get the opportunity to participate in a number of educational events and quality cultural programs. For those who prefer to tour at a leisurely pace, the museum grounds have a number of environmentally friendly spaces and rest areas.
It’s free admission for all visitors and it’s very common to see families spending the day there with their children, teaching them the history behind their culture, country and their identity. Specifically, on the day that we went, we ran into numerous tourist groups visiting Korea for vacation and also students from local middle schools on a field trip.
As soon as you walk in, you can head over to the help desk for information and also pamphlets and guides to help get you through the museum. The galleries are divided into periods and themes. On the first floor, you’ll find galleries starting from the Prehistoric & Ancient history and eventually leading up to the Medieval and Early Modern era. Then the second and third floors house donated works, calligraphy & paintings, Asian art and sculptures & crafts.
Considering the size of the museum, we only got to explore level one and all of its galleries. Starting from the prehistoric era, we got to learn the origin of Korean culture and follow its development from ancient times to the Unified Silla period to the Balhae Kingdom. Around 7500 artifacts from the Paleolithic Period to the North-South States Period are displayed in the 11 exhibition rooms. Then moving on to the Medieval and Early Modern History Gallery, we were able to view different cultural artifacts from the Goryeo and Joseon Dynasty, arranged by time period. Around 1,900 words were displayed in Goryeo Dynasty I – II – III and Joseon Dynasty I – II – III – IV – V.
Walking through the different exhibits really helped put Korea into perspective as a country and how far its people and culture has come today. The way the galleries and exhibits were set up really helps bring you along through a historic timeline and gave insight to how life was back then.
Indeed, this little trip to the museum proved to be another success and learning experience. But now that finals week is right around the corner, it’s time for coffee and sleepless nights!