Specialty Museums, Seoul
Many (but not all) of the specialty museums listed below are located in Bukchon**, Seoul's Hanok (traditional houses) Village. These small museums showcase elements of traditional Korea such as arts and crafts, daily life or food. The area is within easy walking distance (10 minutes) of Anguk subway station (Line 3, Stop 328). You can also take village bus #2.
Despite its maze-like layout, Bukchon is relatively easy to navigate. Not only are there a few south- north main thoroughfares cutting through the hanoks that help keep you going in the right direction, there are also 'street' signs showing the way to some of the main attractions in the area. You can also get a map of the area at one of the Tourist Information Centers located outside Anguk station. (You can also buy a ticket/pass at the tourism kiosk that will get you into a number of the Bukchon museums including Gahoe Minhwa Museum, Donglim Maedup Museum, Museum of Korean Buddhist Art and Han Sangsoo Embroidery Museum.
Chung Young Yang Embroidery Museum (정영양자수박물관), located at Sookmyung Women's University, 52 Hyochangwongil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, is an exhibition, educational, and research facility dedicated to advancing the knowledge and appreciation of embroidery and textile arts. The Museum's permanent collection focuses mainly on East Asian costume and decorative arts. Tel: 02-710-9133/4 or 82-2077-7209/10. Hours: Mon-Fri 10:00-16:00. Closed Weekends, holidays. Directions: 10 min walk from Sookmyung Women's University Station (Line 4, Stop 427) or 15 min walk from Namyeong Station (Line 1, Stop 134). Website is in Korean only.
Dong-Lim Knot (Maedeup) Museum (동림매듭박물관) a cozy hanok with a small yard on the alley near the Gahoe Folk Museum, displays a variety of old, hand-made, traditional maedeup works by Shim Yeong-mi, the head of the Korea Maedeup Federation. Some of the crafts include Norigae for Hanbok, belts, pouches, as well as materials such as thread, cord, and accessories.Ms Shim, who learned knotting from her father-in-law, whose aunt was a court lady specializing in decorative knotting in the Joseon period, offers lesson in knot-making (cell phone charm).Reservations required for groups of 7 or more. Admission: 2,000 won. Making a cell phone charm 5,000 won (includes admission). Hours: 10:00-18:00. Closed Mondays. Tel:02-3673-2778.
Gahoe Folk Museum (가회박물관) offers a collection of some 1,500 works, including roughly 250 folk paintings (minhwa), 750 talismans (bujeok), 150 classical books and 250 various folk-related resources. Minhwa are paintings by common people in the Joseon period that, unlike paintings by upper-class literati, give a glimpse into the lives of the common people. Visitors can also learn to paint a flower on a fan and to create a print from a woodblock. Admission: 3,000 won. Minwha fan painting; 7,000 won. Woodblock talisman 3,000 won. Hours: 10:00-17:00. Closed Mondays. Tel: 02-741-0466.
Hansangsu Embroidery Museum (한상수 자수박물관) is run by Han Sang-su, master in embroidery the museum and displays a variety of embroidery-related items and historical relics. Visitors can learn to embroider rose patterns on a handkerchief for an hour (10,000 won). Admission: 3,000 won. Hours: 10:00 - 17:00. Tel: 02-744-1545. Website is in Korean only.
(National) Hangeul Museum (국립한글박물관) is located next to the National Museum of Korea at 139 Seobinggo-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. Opened in October 2014, the museum has four floors with multi-purpose spaces to hold exhibitions, and cultural and educational events and more than 10,000 Hangeul related artifacts and pieces. Visitors can also to learn and get hands-on with the Korean alphabet through paper crafts, puzzles, and dance. Admission is free. Hours: Tue-Thu-Fri 9:00-18:00 / Wed & Sat 9:00 -21:00 / Sun & Holidays 9:00-19:00. Directions: Take Line 4 or the Jungang line (Deokso-Yongsan) to Ichon Station and go out Exit 2. Follow the ‘Moving Museum’ and go 400m to the right or from Exit 2, walk straight ahead for 600m towards Family Park. Merge onto the trail on the left. Info: 02-2124-6200.
House of Sharing / Museum of Japanese Military Sexual Slavery (Nanum Jip-나눔의 집) offers English tours the 3rd Saturday of each month. House of Sharing was created as a home for some of the surviving eldery 'halmoni' (grandmothers) comfort women. Address : 65 Wondang-ri, Toechon-myeon, Gwangju-si, Gyeonggi-do. Tel: +82-(0)31-768-0064. Tour reservations: firstname.lastname@example.org/ FB page.
Korea Furniture Museum (한국가구박물관) features 10 hanok (traditional Korean homes) and over 2,000 pieces of traditional furniture. Guided tours are available in English, Japanese and Korean daily. Cost: W20,000 for a one hour tour. To reserve a tour or for more information, visit the museum's website. Reservation required to visit museum. English guided tour hours: 14:00, 15:00, 16:00, 17:00. Address: 121 Daesagwan-ro, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul. Info: 02-745-0181 or email@example.com. Directions: From Hansung University Station (Seoul Subway Line 4), take a cab to the museum (5 minutes).
Mokin (Traditional Wooden Dolls) Museum (목인박물관) houses more than 3,000 wooden dolls. ‘Mokin’ refers to various wooden sculptures of people and animals. Admission: 5,000 won. Hours: 10:00~19:00. Closed New Year's Day, Seollal and Chuseok. Info: 02-722-5066. Directions: From Exit 6 of Anguk Station (stop 328) walk straight to reach the main street of Insa-dong. Follow the Insa-dong Main Street about 200 meters and on the left you will see a yellow ‘ㅆ’ sign. This is the Ssamzi Space Building. About 70 meters into the alley you'll see the Insa-dong Information Center. A few meters before you reach this center, you’ll see the Mokin Museum to your right.
Museum of Korean Embroidery (한국자수박물관) is a privately funded museum displaying about 1000 works of embroidery by women from Korea's Joseon Period, including Buddhist embroideries, cloth wrappers, various cloths, and pleated sheets featuring traditional Korean patterns and colors. Address: 34, Nonhyeon-ro 132-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul. Admission is free. Hours: 10:00-16:00. Closed weekends, holidays. Directions: Hakdong Station (Subway Line 7, Stop 731) Exit 10 . Go straight about 70m on your left side,turn right . Then walk about another 100m.
Myungwon Folk House (명원 - 한규설 집) is a traditional upper class Korean house located near the back gate of Kookmin University in Seongbuk-dong. This was the home of former Mayor of Seoul / Minister of Political Affairs, HAN Gyu Seol. It is the venue, now, of traditional culture experiences including the traditional tea ceremony (darye). Directions: Gireum Station (subway line 4, Stop 417) Exit 3. Take a taxi (about 10 minutes) or a bus 170, 171, 1011, 1020, 1112, 1213, 1711, 7211 (see routes information here).
Owl Art and Craft Museum (부엉이박물관) is a private museum filled with over 2000 owls and owl paraphernalia from over 70 countries. Tel: 3210 2902. Hours: 10:00-19:00/ Winter season: 10:00 - 18:00. Closed: Every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. Admission: 5,000 won. Directions: From Exit 2 of Anguk Station follow Samcheong-dong Road. As you are walking down this road, you will then take the side street on the right. Go pass the Korea Banking Institute. You will see a sign labeled “차와 부엉이” (Tea and Owls). The website is in Korean only.
The Sool Gallery (전통주 갤러리) is dedicated to informing visitors and locals about Korea's traditional liquors. Sool is Korean for alcohol/liquor. Bottles and goblets best suited for each product are also on display. A free sampling session is held daily at 1, 3 and 5PM. English, Japanese and Korean speakers on staff (Chinese coming). Reservations required for the samplings but not to browse the gallery. Register via firstname.lastname@example.org. No RSVP required to browse the gallery. Hours: 10:00-18:00 (closed Mondays and Lunar New Year - Seaollal day). Address: B1, 8, Insadong 11-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul. Directions: From Anguk Station (Line 3, Stop 328) Exit 6, go straight about 90m. Turn left and walk another 200m along Insadong-gil Rd. Turn right on Insa-dong 11-gil (in front of Ssamziegil). The gallery is another 40m ahead.
War & Women's Rights Museum (전쟁과여성인권박물관). The museum focuses on the history of the Korean “comfort women” aka 'halmoni' who were forced into sexual slavery for the Japanese military during World War II. The museum consists of one underground floor and two more stories above ground. Address: 20, World cup buk-ro 11 gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul. Tel: 02-365-4016/392-52552. Hours: 13:00-18:00 except Wednesdays 15:00 - 18:00 (following weekely protest at Japanese Embassy). Closed Sunday, Monday. Admission: W3,000 Adults, Teens W2,000. Audio Tours available in English.
Zipul Museum - Museum of Korea Straw and Plants Handicraft (짚풀생활사박물관) is a private museum located at 8-4 Myeongnyun-dong 2(i)-ga, Jongno-gu, Seoul. Directions: Hyewha Station (Line 4, Stop 420) Exit 4. Tel: 02-743-8787/88. Hours: 10:00-17:30. Admission: W4,000 Adult / W3,000 Child. The museum website provides information on Korean straw culture in English.
*Note: Some of the museums may not always follow the hours indicated.
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Last Updated on 2017-03-15
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