The National Museum of Korea is the most comprehensive history and culture museum on Korea. It starts from the first humans on the Korean peninsular, and gradually guides you through the different kingdoms that reigned with artifacts that are thousands of years old which leads to the final dynasty of Korea, Joseon. In the culture and arts wing, there are large buddhist statues and large paintings as well as beautiful porcelain vases that have survived the centuries. In the center of the museum is a beautiful pagoda that stands tall in the middle of the museum. In addition, there are also a few wings of the museum dedicated to pieces the museum acquired from China, India, Japan and other nearby countries. Arguably, the centerpiece artifacts of the museum are the gold crown from Hwangnamdaechong of the Silla dynasty , and the Gilt-bronze Maitreya in Meditation (National Treasure No. 78), one of the most highly regarded Buddhist statues in Korea. Be sure to check those out.
The museum is very large and can take a whole day to traverse. There’s a lot to take in if you go from each display to the next. The best option is of course to join the free guided tours (schedule below), which will give you a good overview and guidance through the key pieces with insightful information.
The museum grounds are also a great place to sit outside and enjoy a nice day. There are benches outside next to a pond.
* Free Guided Tours:
– English: (Mon) 10AM, 11AM/ (Tue-Fri) 10AM, 11AM, 2PM/ (Sat-Sun) 11AM, 2PM
– Japanese: (Mon-Fri) 10AM/ (Sat-Sun) 11AM, 2PM
– Chinese: (Mon-Fri) 10AM/ (Sat-Sun) 11AM, 2PM
– French: (The 2nd Saturday of each month) 11AM