The National Museum of Korea is home to several National Treasures, designated as such for having tangible cultural heritage of rare and significant value. This 10-storied marble pagoda was originally located at Gyeongcheonsa Temple and dates back to the 14th century.
Seoul has a multitude of museums to browse, but none as extensive as the National Museum of Korea. The museum houses six permanent galleries and displays more than 13,000 objects. That’s only a small fraction of the 220,000 pieces in its total collection.
History buffs should start on the first floor at either the Prehistory and Ancient History Gallery or the Medieval and Early Modern History Gallery. The two galleries showcase artifacts from the Paleolithic Age to the end of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). With more than 82,000 square feet of exhibition space to see on this floor, you may not make it to the rest of the museum.
Art enthusiasts will love the Calligraphy and Painting Gallery on the second floor and the Sculpture and Crafts Gallery on the third floor. Explore beautiful calligraphy, various themed paintings, Buddhist sculptures, metal crafts, celadon pottery and white porcelain within the exhibition space.
If you’re into philanthropy, stop at the second floor Donations Gallery, which displays contributions of various individuals. Among the collections, you’ll find national treasures, ceramics, bronze wares, wooden furniture, paintings and much more.
Anthropologists should make sure to visit the Asia Gallery on the third floor. This gallery presents the unique characteristics of India, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, China and Japan, while exploring the universality between each culture. A room is also dedicated to artifacts from a shipwreck along the Silk Road maritime trade route.
If you’re traveling with children, don’t miss the Children’s Museum, located inside the National Museum of Korea. Hands-on activities abound in exhibits that focus on housing, music, war and agriculture of the past. Other highlights of the museum include a playground and educational programs.
IF YOU GO:
National Museum of Korea
137 Seobinggo-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, 140-026
Hours: Permanent exhibition: Tu., Th.-F 9 a.m.-6 p.m., W and Sa. 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Su. 9 a.m.-7 p.m.
Children’s Museum: March-July and September-December: Tu.-Su. 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; January-February and August: 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Open until 9 p.m. on the last Wednesday of every month.
Admission: Free admission to the Main Exhibition Hall and the Children's Museum. Ticket prices to special exhibitions may vary.