Our Sunday Funday series is all about trying to get you to have fun by spending your weekends exploring – sometimes without spending a single won.
If that takes your fancy then you’re in luck – as at the National Folk Museum of Korea you can do just that. Located within the grounds of Gyeongbokgung Palace, this museum is completely free of charge. Its focus is to illustrate the history of traditional life of Korean people, starting from prehistoric times and going right through until the end of the Joseon Dynasty in 1910.
The museum features both indoors and outdoors exhibitions. Outside – and also my favourite part – features a whole host of open-air exhibits. Here you can spy traditional-styled replicas of buildings including a typical Korean classroom, a bedroom, an old-school train carriage – and even an old comic book store. If you feel thirsty you can even have a sit-down in the little tea shop with a nice traditional cuppa. There’s also a waterwheel, spirits posts where villagers used to pray, rice storage shelters, and big pits that were used for traditional kimchi pots.
The inside museum is separated into three different exhibition halls, which in total carries – fun fact – over 98,000 artifacts. The first hall is named ‘The Life Cycle of Koreans’, which portrays how Confucianism has affected Korean culture over the years. Second is called the ‘Korean Way of Life’, which shows how Koreans lived all the way back in ancient times, and finally there’s the ‘History of Korean People’ – focusing on everyday life in Korea. There are also two special exhibitions that change throughout the year.
But there’s only so much you can write about any museum before boring everyone to death. So before I cause anyone a brain clot, I’ll finish by simply saying that this museum is a real eye-opener whether you’re Korean or not. And besides, who isn’t curious to see what Korea was like before the advent of smart phones, Starcraft and Big Bang?
Directions: Gyeongbokgung station exit 5, Anguk station exit 1 or Gwanghwamun station exit 2
Opening times: March-April and September-October 9am-6pm; May-August 9am-6pm / Sat, Sun, national holidays 9am-7pm; November-February 9am-5pm.
The Museum is closed on 1st January and every Tuesday.
Written by Sam Pryce