Until October 6, the Seoul Museum of History will be holding a special exhibition called “The Memories of Eleven Families in Bukchon,” which looks back on the century of Seoul’s history through the history of Bukchon, one of the representative spots in Seoul.
Located between Gyeongbokgung Palace and Changdeokgung Palace, Bukchon was the closest neighborhood to the royal palaces and one of the best places to live within the city walls. Starting in the early Joseon Dynasty, the area came to symbolize authority and tradition, making it the most desired place in which to reside by those in power. Such geographical conditions of Bukchon have produced a spatial history that is different from all of the other areas of Seoul. Up until the 1860s, Bukchon’s status as the place of power had been maintained without change, but during the century that followed, it experienced rapid and drastic changes.
The special exhibition, The Memories of Eleven Families in Bukchon, reflects the history of Bukchon through the daily lives and memories of the residents from the eleven houses who lived in the area during Bukchon’s rapidly changing century (1860-1960). The eleven families introduced at the exhibit tell the hundred-year history of Bukchon through their diverse lives, which are vivid testimonies on how Bukchon, as we know it today, has formed.
These are the eleven families introduced at the exhibition.
① Family of Wansun Gun (Yi Jae-wan), a kindred of the royal family and the son of Heungwan Gun, the second-eldest brother of Heungseon Daewongun
② Family of Yi Jong-yeol, having resided near a washplace in Wonseo-dong in the early 1900s
③ Family of Yun Bo-seon, having guarded Anguk-dong for one hundred years
④ Family of Oh Bong-bin, the founder of the Joseon Art Museum during the Japanese occupation period
⑤ Family of Hong Sung-hak of Gyesan Oriental Medical Clinic, a place for visitors and guests in Gye-dong and Jae-dong
⑥ Family of Baek In-je, Professor at Gyeongseong Medical School and founder of Inje University Paik Hospital
⑦ Family and descendants of the House of Min Yeong-hwan and Min Yeong-chan who had official residency in Bukchon while serving at Iwangjik
⑧ Family of Park Han-ki, who lived in an urban hanok in Bukchon
⑨ Family of Bong Hae-ryong, a daegeum musician of Iwangjik aakbu.
⑩ Family of Im In-sik, war photographer and a documentary photographer of Bukchon
⑪ Family of Kim Chang-won, who moved to Wonseo-dong after the Korean War and ran Wonseo Barber Shop to make a living
The old memories of the eleven families that have survived in different spaces and times are quotidian lives of individuals and the history of Bukchon.
The exhibition is comprised of three themes: part 1) The Space of Bukchon, part 2) The History of Bukchon, and part 3) The 11 Families of Bukchon. Parts 2 and 3 are organized to help visitors understand the exhibition by connecting the families related to the central history of Bukchon as microscopic, historical cases.
The exhibition arranges separate sections for the 11 families that have lived a hundred years of Bukchon’s history, in which the collections borrowed from the families are on display. A number of them have already been opened to the public as photos or videos but will be exhibited to the public here for the first time.
The admission is free and the hours of operation are from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends and national holidays. The museum is closed on Mondays, except on national holidays. More information is available at the Seoul Museum of History’s website (www.museum.seoul.kr). For all inquiries, call +82-2-724-0274.
|Letter of application for moving into the official residence of Changdeokgung Palace (1931) kept by the family of Min Yeong-chan||Household items with royal family patterns decorating the surface kept by an individual of the family of Yi Jae-wan|
|A collection of poems by ten great Western painters who were the members of Ilgihoe, a society led by Go Hui-dong, made in the Japanese colonial era||An illustration called “The Streets of Gyeongseong during Summer Vacation” in Byeolgeongon (1927), which shows the concentration of schools in Bukchon|
|Real Life (1931), published by Jeong Se-gwon, a building contractor of Joseon||A folding picture book made to celebrate the foundation of Joseon Art Museum (1929)|
|A List of Western Artworks (1929-the 1940s), Oh Bong-bin|