The Seoul Design Support Center in Dongdaemun City Wall Park has opened the Seoul City Wall Museum, which highlights the history and value of Seoul City Wall.
Seoul City Wall is a cherished cultural heritage that was built when Seoul, the capital city of Joseon, was founded. It marked the boundary of Seoul, protected the city from invasions, and has stood alongside Seoul for the past 600 years. Also, it has served its purpose as a city wall longer than any other existing city wall around the world. Spanning a distance of 18.6 kilometers, Seoul City Wall was damaged during the Japanese colonial era and the period of development following liberation from Japanese rule. However, recently, through excavations and restorations, the city wall is regaining its former prestige and becoming a popular walking trail.
In May 2012, the Seoul Metropolitan Government announced a comprehensive plan to preserve, manage, and utilize Seoul City Wall, so that this living symbol and pride of our city can become a global cultural heritage site. As part of this plan, the Seoul City Wall Research Center was established at the Seoul Museum of History, and the construction of the Seoul City Wall Museum was promoted to highlight the significance and value of Seoul City Wall.
After the Seoul City Wall Research Center was founded in October 2012, the basic plans and design of the Seoul City Wall Museum were drawn up. The museum has now finally been built and opened to the public, equipped with permanent exhibitions and special exhibitions that display the value of Seoul City Wall as a cultural heritage of the past, present, and future. Also, the City Wall Information Center houses domestic and international documents about city walls, and is a place for the education of citizens and participatory education programs that use all three floors.
Some of the main articles on display include the hanging board (owned by the National Palace Museum of Korea) of Donuimun, which was made in 1749; a dragon head and eight animal-shaped roof tiles that decorated Heunginjimun (East Gate of Seoul); a Lego recreation of Sungnyemun; and video screens set up on three walls that simulate the experience of walking along Seoul City Wall. The hanging board of Donuimun, which was torn down in 1915, is a relic that will be open for public viewing for the first time in 100 years. It is a significant historical object that represents the damage inflicted on Seoul City Wall during the Japanese colonial era.
The Seoul City Wall Museum was built through the cooperation of citizens, which makes its opening even more significant. Currently, an exhibition titled “Seoul City Wall, a Line Connected through Stories” is being held. It is an exhibition of artwork that was created with the cooperation of the Seongbuk Cultural Foundation and young artists, and is made up of pictures of Seoul City Wall drawn by children. Another exhibit in which citizens participated is the reproduction of Sungnyemun and its surroundings as they looked at around 1900. The reproduction was created by a Lego club using only Lego blocks.
Furthermore, in commemoration of its opening, the museum has prepared “Seoul City Wall Found in Namsan (Mountain),” a special exhibition of excavated relics that showcase the findings at Seoul City Wall excavation sites in the Namsan (Mountain) area, which the Seoul Museum of History has been working on since 2008. Along with artifacts and stones from the city wall, images of excavation sites and relics from the Hoehyeon area next to Namsan (Mountain), including smoke-signal station sites, Kid Plaza, Baekbeom Square, and Central Square, which continue to be explored, are showcased at the museum.
The special exhibition commemorating the opening of the museum will be held in the Special Exhibition Room on the first floor of the Seoul City Wall Museum until September 14, 2014. (Contact: 724-0243)