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South Korean Trails Header National Folk Museum, South Korea

â“’Korea Tourism Organization - Kim Jiho

National Folk Museum

The National Folk Museum of Korea, located in the heart of Seoul, is a cultural treasure that offers a captivating journey into the rich heritage and traditions of the Korean people. As one of the most visited museums in South Korea, it plays a vital role in preserving and promoting the country's folk history, art, and customs.

Historical Background

The National Folk Museum of Korea was established in 1945 as part of the larger complex that includes the Gyeongbokgung Palace, one of Seoul's grandest royal palaces. This museum was initially known as the "Korean Folk Art Museum" before adopting its current name in 1993. It was founded with the mission to collect, research, and exhibit traditional Korean folk artifacts, costumes, and cultural practices.

Location and Architecture

The museum's location adjacent to the Gyeongbokgung Palace is no coincidence. The proximity to the royal palace reinforces the cultural significance of the folk heritage and its relation to Korea's monarchy and history.

The museum's architecture is designed in the traditional Korean style, complementing the aesthetics of the Gyeongbokgung Palace. It consists of two main exhibition halls: the "Basic Exhibition Hall" and the "Special Exhibition Hall." Both halls are interconnected, making the museum a comprehensive and immersive experience.

Basic Exhibition Hall

The Basic Exhibition Hall provides an in-depth overview of Korean folk culture and lifestyle throughout history. The exhibits are organized chronologically, showcasing the evolution of Korean customs from prehistoric times to the modern era. The galleries feature a wide range of artifacts, including household items, tools, agricultural implements, and traditional costumes. Visitors can see how Koreans lived, dressed, and interacted in different historical periods, gaining valuable insights into the country's social structure, economy, and religious beliefs.

One of the highlights of the Basic Exhibition Hall is the "Traditional Lifestyle" section, where life-sized dioramas recreate scenes from various historical settings. These dioramas vividly depict everyday activities such as farming, fishing, and traditional ceremonies, providing an immersive experience that transports visitors back in time.

Special Exhibition Hall

The Special Exhibition Hall hosts rotating exhibitions that delve deeper into specific themes, seasonal customs, and regional folk cultures. These temporary exhibits complement the content of the Basic Exhibition Hall, offering visitors fresh perspectives on different aspects of Korean folk heritage.

The themes of the special exhibits may range from traditional Korean crafts, festivals, and rituals to contemporary folk art and cultural exchanges between Korea and other nations. These dynamic displays ensure that every visit to the museum offers something new and engaging.

Cultural Programs and Events

The National Folk Museum of Korea is more than just a static display of artifacts. It offers a vibrant program of cultural events and activities that allow visitors to actively engage with Korean traditions. Throughout the year, the museum hosts various events and festivals, such as traditional music and dance performances, craft workshops, and seasonal celebrations. These events provide visitors with the opportunity to experience traditional Korean culture firsthand and gain a deeper appreciation for its artistic beauty and cultural significance.

Educational Resources

The museum places a strong emphasis on education and research. It offers a wide range of educational resources, including guided tours, lectures, and workshops, catering to both students and the general public. The museum's commitment to research and documentation ensures that the knowledge of Korean folk heritage is continually expanded and shared.

Accessibility and Multilingual Services

To cater to an international audience, the National Folk Museum of Korea provides multilingual services, including audio guides and written materials in various languages. This allows visitors from around the world to explore and understand the exhibits in their native tongues, enriching their experience and facilitating cultural exchange.


The National Folk Museum of Korea stands as a testament to the country's cultural legacy and serves as a bridge between Korea's rich history and its contemporary society. By preserving and celebrating traditional folk culture, the museum fosters a sense of national identity and pride while promoting cultural understanding among global visitors.

For those seeking a profound and immersive exploration of Korea's diverse traditions, the National Folk Museum of Korea is an essential destination. It provides an educational and engaging experience that leaves visitors with a deep appreciation for the beauty, ingenuity, and resilience of Korean folk heritage.

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