Three museums to visit in Seoul

Philippine soldiers’ Korean war memorabilia. (Photo courtesy Emily Manuel)


By Emily Manuel
Eagle News and Features 


Seoul is known as the land of K-Drama and K-Pop. It’s also a favorite destination for shopping and food. For those who like immersing themselves in culture, there are several palaces where one can rent a hanbok, or a traditional Korean attire, to enter for free. With so many attractions to see, it’s not surprising that a visit to a museum is not always on top of everyone’s list. However, Seoul boasts of several museums that are worth visiting. Admission to these museums is free and many are only a few steps away from major tourist sites.

War Memorial of Korea

(File photo) South Koreans walk past the monument in remembrance of the Korean War at the Korean War Memorial Museum in Seoul August 11, 2011. AFP PHOTO/PARK JI-HWAN

The War Memorial houses a collection of artifacts and interactive displays that narrate the story of the Korean war. The Korean war (1950-1953) began with the invasion of North Korea on June 25, 1950 and divided the country between the North and South. The Philippines was the first Asian country to send a battalion-size unit to Korea, where a total of 113 Filipinos lost their lives. As one of 16 nations to send military troops, the Philippine flag stands tall and proud. The memorial honors these fallen soldiers and the millions of civilians who lost their lives during this war.
The museum also contains memorabilia of the Filipino soldiers, including those belonging to former Philippine president and Korean war veteran Fidel V. Ramos.


– National Museum –

The National Museum houses art and antiquities belonging to the three kingdoms. The collection contains unique pieces of pottery and paintings which showcase the unique techniques used by artists and craftsmen at that time. It also includes pieces of furniture and objects that were used by the royal household. Considering that some of the pieces are six centuries old, it’s impressive to see them in such pristine state.
Outside the museum is a scenic pond and pagoda garden, ideal for a picnic or simply to unwind.


– National Folk Museum –
The National Folk Museum is located within the Gyeongbokgung palace grounds but can be reached without having to enter the palace. It provides an interesting insight into the Korean people and their way of life. It showcases a collection of traditional clothes and household tools and hosts interactive displays that explains, for example, the history of kimchi.
Outside the museum is a life-size replica of a traditional village that demonstrates how the Koreans lived in the past.