National Museum of Korea

The National Museum of Korea is the main museum of South Korean history and art. This museum is highly committed in supporting different research activities and studies related to archeology, history, and education. The museum designed to allow visitors to appreciate not just Korean history and culture but the culture of the entire world as well.

National Museum of Korea


The National Museum of Korea is located in 137 Seobinggo-ro, Yongsan-gu in the heart of Seoul. The museum boasts of 20 million visitors annually. Its relocation to the Yongsan District has a lot to do with its growing popularity. Right now, the museum is easily one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country.


The National Museum of Korea was established in 1945, not long after Japan was defeated during the Second World War. At which time, Korea regained its independence. The Korean government then took over the Japanese Museum called the Joseon Government General Museum and sequestered all of itspieces. The entire collection of the said museum was combined with a handful of artifacts and art pieces from the Imperial Household Museum, which is the Korea’s first museum established under the reign of Emperor Sunjong in 1909.

In 2005, the National Museum of Korea opened a building at the Yongsan Family Park building in Seoul. The building contains over 310,000 objects with 15,000 pieces displayed at a time. Foreign tourists never leave Korea without paying this museum a visit.

National Museum of Korea inside

Major Exhibitions

The major exhibitions at the National Museum of Korea are pieces from the medieval and early modern history periods of the Goryeo and Joseon dynasties; prehistoric and ancient history pieces that evidence Korean civilization and culture; Buddhist and Korean calligraphy and paintings; donated works from individual collectors; Buddhist sculpture and crafts; and Asian art pieces.

Among the must-see items at the museum are the hand axes from the Paleolithic Age, the golden crown from the Three Kingdoms Period, the very exquisite celadon from the Goryeo Dynasty, and the masterful paintings of the Joseon Dynasty.

National Museum of Korea scalpture

Main Artists

One of the most notable artists featured at the National Museum of Korea is Danwon. Danwon is an 18th century painter whose actual name is Kim Hong-do. He makes humorous and candid paintings about the lives of common people. His entire album of paintings is featured at the National Museum of Korea consisting of 25 paintings in all. Some of his prized artworks are ‘Rice Threshing’, ‘On the Way to a Market’, ‘A Dancing Boy’, and ‘Korean Traditional Wrestling’.

National Museum of Korea scalpture

Main Artworks

The main artworks of the National Treasure of Korea are sculptures and paintings spanning different centuries. A very notable sculpture is the ‘Pensive Bodhisattva’, which is considered as one of Korea’s National Treasures. A bigger-than-life sculpture called the ‘Ten-Story Pagoda’ is also on display, obtained from the Gyeongcheonsa Temple. Danwon’s 25-piece Genre Painting is also one of the most precious art collections of the museum.

Relevant links:

National Museum of Korea official website

National Museum of Korea on Wikipedia