The Seoul Baekje Museum is scheduled to open its doors on April 30 after eight years of dedicated preparations at Olympic Park (near South Gate 2) in Bangi-dong, Songpa-gu.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government has worked on the structure and exhibitions of the museum to restore the importance of Seoul (then known as Hanseong), the capital of the Kingdom of Baekje (18BC~ 660AD) for 500 years from 18 BC to 475 AD.
When Hanseong was the capital of Baekje, its territory encompassed not only central and southwestern Korea but also Hwanghaedo (currently in North Korea) and Gangwondo on the east coast. Indeed, the Kingdom of Baekje commanded the largest territory and wielded the most power of the peninsula’s three kingdoms for a considerable period of time.
Seoul, in one form or another, has been the capital city of two kingdoms (Baekje and Joseon) and a republic (the current Republic of Korea) for a total of 1,080 years. Hanseong, as the capital city of Baekje, was just the start of its history of more than a thousand years of a national capital, a very rare case in the world history.
The Baekje Museum, which covers a land area of 14,894m² and a building area of 19,423m², is a two-story with three underground levels. The museum is designed to match the natural flow of the nearby Mongchontoseong (Earthen Fortification), and is shaped like a boat of Baekje to symbolize the kingdom’s status as a sea power of Northeast Asia.
The museum boasts six main exhibition spaces: the lobby, three permanent exhibition halls on B1 (underground level one) and the 1st floor, one temporary exhibition hall, and an outdoor exhibition space on the 2nd floor rooftop. The exhibitions are presented in chronological order to enable visitors to follow each major subject of the exhibition spaces without difficulty.
The museum is also equipped with a range of modern educational facilities including auditoriums, classrooms, a seminar hall and a library, in addition to various convenient facilities such as a cafeteria, restaurant, rooftop garden and 4D Film Theater.
The museum comprises 42,311 exhibits which have been gathered and assembled from many places across the nation.
The city of Seoul has been designated by the central government as an agency for the storage and management of 2,199 items including siyudogi (glazed pottery), critical items containing a wealth of information about exchanges between Baekje and various Chinese dynasties. The city government has also purchased 157 relics dating back to the prehistoric and ancient eras from private collections.
The city of Seoul has also received 34,428 relics as donations, and has secured an exhibition of 4,147 items discovered in the Pungnaptoseong Excavation Project under a contract with the National Research Institute of Cultural Properties, Korea.
Considerable emphasis will be placed on the museum’s function as a lifelong educational facility.
The electronic library located on underground level 2 contains a great variety of materials concerning the prehistoric and ancient periods of Korean history. The museum has also arranged a host of educational and cultural programs tailored for all age groups.
In combination with tours of the Mongchontoseong (Earthen Fortification) and Pungnaptoseong (Mud Rampart), the museum expects to become a popular site for students of all levels, particularly on Saturdays. (As of 2012 Korean students no longer have classes on Saturdays.)
To commemorate its opening, the museum will hold an exhibition titled The Fashions of Baekje – Clothing and Accessories, which will feature displays of fabrics (nine kinds), clothing (twenty-five kinds) and accessories (seventy kinds), and offer a number of experiential programs. The exhibition is open to the public from April 30 to September 14.
Status of the Facilities
– Land Area: 14,894, Building Area: 19,423 / two-story with three underground levels
– Exhibition Space: Lobby, Three Permanent Exhibitions Halls, Temporary Exhibition Hall, Outdoor Exhibition
– Educational Facilities: Auditoriums, Classrooms, Seminar Hall, Library
– Convenience Facilities: Cafeteria, Restaurant, Rooftop Garden, 4D Film Theater
Panorama of the Museum