Monday, October 20, 2014

Seoul Museums: National Museum

Aside from books, the best way to learn about a country's history and culture is by visiting the country itself.  The people, the food, and the museums share so many stories about the past, present, and future.

I was one of those kids that really enjoyed school field trips to museums.  And it wasn't just because we were off of campus for the day.  I actually really enjoyed exploring all the exhibits and pieces in order to complete the class assignments.  Yes, I enjoyed (most) school work and really enjoyed learning more from museums.

And then there were family trips to New York and Europe where museums were a staple in all our itineraries.  Throughout and after college, I loved visiting art museums in San Francisco once a month.  That's where I found compatible friends who appreciate culture... and the happy hours that followed our museum days.

It's safe to say I've seen a good selection of museums around the world.  So when I'm blown away by museums, it means they are truly impressive.  Seoul's museums are truly impressive.  AND, free!  Yes, free admission.  These are museums where you'd normally pay $20+USD or feel obligated to donate in the box to walk around the museum with a "I'm a good person because I donated" pin.

Over the course of the week, I'll feature the few museums we managed to visit.  First, the National Museum of Korea.  Opened in 1945, the year Korea gained independence from Japan, this is the country's largest museum.  It is the flagship museum for history and art in South Korea.

Working your way from the first floor up, you walk through the country's ancient history to it's modern era (pre-Korean War).  The museum is filled with national artifacts and relics.  In the upper floors, national and international art feature crafts, calligraphy, and paintings highlighting the best of Asian art.

If you find yourself in Seoul, the National Museum is a must.

Entrance to the National Museum

View of the Seoul Tower in the background

Lobby of the museum

Museum hallway

Massive artifacts

Museum grounds

Simple, clean, concrete

Pond in front of the museum

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