Sept - Oct 2022 (Vol. 66)

10th anniversary

The 10 years of the National Museum of Korean Contemporary History in Numbers: from 1 to 10

Over the 10 years since its opening on December 26, 2012, the National Museum of Korean Contemporary History (MUCH) has upheld the core values of universality, diversity, scalability, and friendliness. What has the past decade been like for MUCH, which is recognized as a cultural space where people can share various historical experiences? In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the museum’s opening, let's look back on the past through the numbers 1 to 10.

1 Korea’s First Museum of Contemporary History

MUCH became Korea’s first national museum of contemporary history in 2012. In addition to the nation’s history of industrialization and economic development, the museum deals with the stories of Korea’s modern and contemporary history, such as the country’s realization of democracy through the blood, sweat, and tears of its people.

Cultural Events Held 281 Times

The regular cultural performance titled “Museum, Dancing, and Singing” and other various cultural events are held at the museum for people of all ages. From 2020, only online performances were held due to the pandemic, but in-person performances have started to be held again recently.

3,936 Occasions of Education Programs

The museum provides modern and contemporary history education for citizens, including children, college students, and teachers, and has held educational programs on a total of 3,936 occasions as of 2021. Through various means, including online and offline channels, the museum is helping citizens gain better insight into their history.

434㎡ Storage Facility

The museum is carrying out data management and informatization projects with an emphasis on the systematic collection and management of data and active utilization of data through informatization. The storage facility of the museum spans 434㎡ in size, and the museum operates external storage facilities as well.

57 Special Exhibitions and Events

Starting with the “60 Years after the Armistice” special exhibition in July 2013, held to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the armistice, a total of 57 special exhibitions and events were held until 2021. These occasions shared special stories of Korea’s modern history, such as the opening of ports, the independence movements, the Korean War, division and unification, democracy, and overseas exchanges.

Street in Front of Gwanghwamun, the Nation’s Administrative Center for Over 600 Years

After Gwanghwamun was built as the main gate of Gyeongbokgung Palace when the palace was founded in 1395, government offices such as Uijeongbu and Yukjo were built in front of Gwanghwamun. As a result, the street in front of Gwanghwamun has been the center of administration in Korea for over 600 years. MUCH was established on this street in 2012, and has been serving as a complimentary space of Gwanghwamun ever since.

A display model reproducing the street in front of Gwanghwamun during the Japanese colonial period (Model: Korea National University of Cultural Heritage, Photo: Seoul Museum of History)

75,533 Pieces of Donated Materials (as of 2021)

The museum started collecting donated materials in 2010, before its opening, with a total of 75,533 pieces of donated materials having been collected by 2021. MUCH’s modern history has been completed with the accumulation of materials of various periods, from the era of port openings to the Japanese colonial period, Korean liberation, and the modern day.

Average of 808,290 Visitors Annually

Since MUCH was opened, domestic and foreign visitors of all ages have visited the museum. From 2020 to 2021, entry to the museum was restricted due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, but many people took virtual tours of the museum during this period.

Number of visitors per year(unit: person)

Average Rate of Satisfaction with Exhibitions of 90%

Visitors’ satisfaction with MUCH recently reached an average of 90%. In particular, visitors’ rates of satisfaction with the Permanent Exhibition Hall (fifth floor), which was reorganized in 2020, and Interactive Gallery (fourth floor), which opened in March 2021, were especially high.

10th Anniversary of Opening

Since opening in 2012, MUCH has made a continuous efforts to communicate with a wider range of generations through the reorganization of its History Gallery in 2020 and Thematic Gallery in 2022. The steady growth of the museum over the past 10 years was made possible by the strong support given by visitors during this time.

Museum Review

A Small Exhibition Reminding Us of the Founding of Korean History Associations

In a small exhibition space on the first floor, MUCH is currently holding an exhibition titled “Shifting Zeitgeist and Historical Consciousness of Korean Historical Associations” on the founding of Korea’s historical associations and the first issues of their journals. This exhibition, held from October 21 to November 22, examines the hard work of young historians to establish the Korean historical associations amid the chaos around the time of Korea’s liberation and the Korean War. It offers visitors a chance to understand the genealogy of Korean history as well as examine the story of the establishment of the associations through the opening addresses published in the first issues of their journals and related records.

A Congratulatory Video Message and Slogan Contest in Celebration of MUCH’s 10th Anniversary

In celebration of MUCH’s 10th anniversary, the museum held a congratulatory video message and slogan contest to enhance its brand image. The selected congratulatory video message and slogan will be used for the museum’s brand marketing in the future.

Museum Preview

Cultural Performances from November to December

Trio 202

November 26, “Music of Coexistence and Restoration by Trio 202”

Music has always comforted us, even during the pandemic. We have thus prepared a performance based on the theme of the wisdom of coexistence and hope for the future.

December 17, “Korean Movie with Jazz by Nam Ye-ji and Maria Kim”

Korean films, which boast a history of more than 100 years, feature theme songs that have been loved as much as the movies themselves. In the winter of 2022, a wonderful jazz concert will be held with Christmas music.

Release of Online Modern History Video Content: Meet the Children of Each Period through Video

This November, MUCH is planning to release “We Are Children,” a video on Korea’s modern history, through the museum’s website and YouTube channel. This video, which will present children who reflect each era from the 1920s to the present, will show how the meaning of “child” has changed through visual materials of various media. It will show angelic children introduced in Children, a magazine launched in the 1920s, as well as working children in the 1930s, anti-Communist children, and children studying science. We look forward to seeing how adults and children living in 2022 feel when they watch this video and learning about how they view the children of today.

2022 Book-talk on Contemporary History : The Architects of the Korean Economy

This year marks the fifth anniversary of the Book-talk on Contemporary History, which introduces recent books and shares the results of modern history research through discussion. Chung Jin-A, author of The Architects of the Korean Economy and professor in the Department of Humanities for Unification at the Graduate School of Konkuk University, was invited to give a lecture at the the Book-talk, which is be held on November 18 . The lecture will take a close look at the birth and progress of Korea’s government-led industrialization policy and economic development plans from liberation to 1960 through the dynamic movements of economic bureaucrats. Bae Suk Man, a professor of the School of Digital Humanities and Computational Social Sciences at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), will lead the discussion.

Academic Conference Commemorating the 10th Anniversary of MUCH’s Opening: Contemplating the History Museum as a Space for History and the Future

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of MUCH’s opening, an academic conference will be held to discuss the meaning, role, and future of the museum, which has established itself as a symbolic space representing Korea. The conference, which will be held on December 1 under the theme of “The History Museum, a Space for History and the Future,” will include a discussion and presentation sessions.

Topic Presenter
The History Museum of Europe as a Symbolic Space Yun Yong-seon
(Hansung University)
The History Museum of East Asia as a Symbolic Space Kim Ji-hoon
(Sungkyunkwan University)
Gwanghwamun and the National Museum of Korean Contemporary History Kim Baek-yung
(Seoul National University)
National Museum of Korean Contemporary History from a Critical Perspective Kim Aram
(Hallym University)
Activity Themes and Contents of the History Museum Im Chong-myong
(Chonnam National University)
The History Museum in Public History Lee Dong-ki
(Kangwon National University)
Future Direction of the National Museum of Korean Contemporary History Chun Jin-sung
(Busan National University of Education)
Discussion Session

Moderator: Do Myoun-hoi (Daejeon University)
Discussion: Lee Yong-il (Daegu National University of Education),
Park Hyun-wook (Seoul Museum of History),
Kim Sun-mi (National Museum of Korean Contemporary History),
Kim In-duck (Cheongam College),
Kim Soojin (National Museum of Korean Contemporary History),
Kim Ji-young (Soongsil University)

National Museum of Korean Contemporary History Newsletter Sept - Oct 2022 (Vol. 66) / ISSN 2384-230X
198 Sejong-daero, Jongro-gu, Seoul, 03141, Republic of Korea / 82-2-3703-9200 /
Editor: Lee Seungjae, Kim Hyunjung, Lee Jihye, Lee Soojin
/ Design: plus81studios

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