Korea's Flagship Museum

National Museum of Korea


The National Museum of Korea is the flagship museum of Korean art history and holds the distinction of being one of the most visited museums in the world, attracting over 3 million visitors annually. It contains an incredibly extensive collection of historical artifacts, paintings, sculptures, and other artworks from Korea, dating between the Neolithic Age to the last days of the Joseon Dynasty at the turn of the 20th century, as well as works from the surrounding region and the West. In total, the museum houses over 300,000 pieces and consistently rotates its display while also hosting numerous special exhibitions throughout the year.


The museum itself has a long history dating all the way back to 1909 when then-Emperor Sunjong established the Imperial Household Museum. The collections from this museum, as well as that of the Japanese Government-General Museum, provided the groundwork for the National Museum, which opened not long after Korea’s independence in 1945. The museum’s vast collection survived the Korean War thanks to the intuition of the museum’s directors at the time, who could sense that war was going to break out soon and had its entire collection moved safely to Busan. The National Museum has been housed in numerous locations across Seoul, including Deoksugung Palace, Gyeongbokgung Palace, and most controversially, the old Japanese Government-General Building, before finally settling into its own purpose-built home in Yongsan Family Park in 2005.


The museum building is absolutely massive; built on land reclaimed from the US Army’s Yongsan Garrison, it is a very imposing and unique structure surrounded by green parkland and a handful of annex buildings. The museum has two wings, connected by a large open plaza, with the west wing hosting the Special Exhibition Hall and Children’s Museum and the east wing hosting the museum’s permanent collection. The permanent collection is the largest section of the museum, taking up the entire east wing, with a total space of over 27,000㎡ spanning three floors. The collection is divided into six themes of prehistory and ancient history, medieval and early modern history, calligraphy and painting, donated pieces, sculpture and crafts, and Asian art. Entrance to the permanent collection and Children’s Museum is free, but entrance to the museum’s special exhibitions require an admission fee.  


Company NameNational Museum of Korea (국립중앙박물관)
Category Arts & Performance Others Tickets & Passes
Languages Available English Chinese
Opening HoursMonday, Tuesday, Thursday, & Friday: 10:00 - 18:00 / Wednesday & Saturday: 10:00 - 21:00 / Sunday: 10:00 - 19:00
Closed DaysNew Year's Day, Lunar New Year, and Chuseok
Entrance FeeFree (special exhibitions subject to entrance fee)

137 Seobinggo-ro, Yongsandong 5(o)-ga, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea 137

Take Line 4 or the Gyeongui-Jungang Line to Ichon Station and go out Exit 2. -> Walk straight about 100 meters then turn left into the entrance of the grounds of the National Museum of Korea.

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