Reliving the past – National Folk Museum of Korea

Written by on September 28, 2013 in Travel

The National Folk Museum of Korea (국립민속박물관) is located inside the grand Gyeongbokgung Palace and has over 4,000 historical artifacts on display.
Those artifacts were used by ordinary Korean people (commoners) and show agricultural tools, clothes and also customs.
Visiting the museum will give you a deep insight of the lifestyle of the past and will be a great place to start your stay in Korea – after all, you can visit the Gyeongbokgung Palace and Museum at once!

Outside of the Folk Museum you can explore other buildings, it is also a popular photo zone and place to take a rest, after walking through the Gyeongbokgung Palace.
Or, you can take a break in the garden surrounding the museum.


The entrance fee to the Folk Museum is free (but you need to buy a ticket to enter Gyeongbokgung Palace) and there are a wide range of items on display, be it traditional instruments, such as the haegeum (해금, a traditional korean two stringed string instrument), a simulation how a traditional classroom looked like (with the teacher sitting in the middle and his pupils on his left and right) and how to make the korean side dish kimchi.
I found it very interesting that audio was included with most of the displays, you could actually hear a musician play the haegeum or hear children repeat phrases from their teacher!


Spiritual items, such as offerings towards deities or books about fortune telling were shown and artifacts, such as traditional braided shoes and carriers for various goods (be it water, waste or products) conveyed how people lived a few hundred years ago.
While exploring the museum, I had the feeling as if I was walking through centuries and reliving the past!
If you are in need of more explanations, make sure to ask the staff for guidance, english booklets were provided to tourists.


You can relax at the pond after exiting the museum and plan your next visit to the museum! 😉
How to get here:  Take the subway line 3, get off at Gyeongbokgung Station and follow the signs.
For Families:  There is also a special museum for children, located inside the Folk Museum


About the Author

Dorothea Suh

Dorothea Suh is a PhD student in ethnomusicology and wayfarer. She researches oral traditions of East Asia, loves her violin, Korea and good coffee. You can find her on Twitter as @Novemberbeetle