Korea Travel Guide

A Complete Guide to the Seoul Urban Life Museum

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Here’s a complete guide to the Seoul Urban Life Museum where visitors can able to know more about Seoulites.

Today’s afternoon was the tour at the Seoul Urban Life Museum together with the other participants. We were accompanied by the museum’s curator and a guide during the tour. The guide from my previous museum tour was also the same that’s why we’ve able to communicate comfortably.

Anyway, this article is a complete guide to the Seoul Urban Life Museum. So keep reading!

What is Seoul Urban Life Museum?

On September 26, 2019, the Seoul Urban Life Museum has officially opened its doors to the public. Located in Gongneung-dong in the Nowon district, a few minutes walk from exit 5 of the Taenung station.

The museum is a modern cultural facility that preserves the historical values of the Seoulites (citizens of Seoul).  It features the contemporary and modern lives of the people of Seoul from the 1950s up to the present.

The museum consists of three floors and a children’s zone. There is also an Annex Building where visitors can experience the Detention Area Exhibition Room.

Seoul Scenery (Urban Life Exhibition Hall, 1F)

The Seoul Scenery Exhibition hall shows the transformation of Seoul. The hall also displayed old photos and videos of the lives of Seoulites after the war. The relics here are actually donations from the people who wanted to share their stories during the past.

Living in Seoul (Urban Life Exhibition Hall, 2F)

This hall is devoted to Seoulites and shows how they arrived in Seoul, lived, married, and started their family. The photo below shows the picture of Seoul during the Joseon Dynasty and Hanyang (now Seoul) was the capital.

There are native Seoulites known as ‘tobagi‘ who could be seen as ancestors of the native Seoulites. They lived in the five districts including Bukchon, Namchon, Dongchon, Seochon, and Jungchon. Hanyang’s population was only about 200,000 but it grew rapidly during the colonial period in 1944. Read about the Seoul Museum of History to find out more about the city’s history.

If you are watching some retro Korean dramas this family studio is present. This studio is still present in some areas of Seoul where families take their precious photos as memories.

There’s an area where visitors can see the evolution of wedding dresses from the 1950s up to the present. In the past, marrying someone is very different from the present. During the old times, parents usually arrange the marriage of their children. And honestly, the bride and the groom’s first meeting will be their wedding day. Through marriage, the birth of the Seoul family started because the couples had their children and became part of Seoul.

The photo shows the hanboks of babies who are celebrating their first birthday or ‘dol‘. Doljanchi is a Korean tradition where they celebrate the first birthday of the child. In the past, many babies died before their first birthday that’s why when the child lives until his first birthday it’s an important milestone for the child and the parents.

Dream of Seoul (Urban Life Exhibition Hall, 3F)

In this hall, visitors can see the busy lives of Seoul citizens including family houses, education for children, hard-working parents, and their jobs.

The picture above shows ‘yeontan‘ or ‘coal briquettes‘, a cylindrical block made of coal, coke, or charcoal dust with a gluing agent. It is used by Koreans for cooking and heating the floors during the cold season. At present, maybe some houses still use this kind of heating system but maybe in the far provinces of the country. 

When I first came here to Korea, my parent-in-law’s house uses this kind of coal briquettes aside from using the gas as a source for cooking and heating the house.

This is Story 5 which features ‘The Dream of my House‘ where the museum recreated the kitchen and living room and at present, visitors can compare the changes from the housing interiors before. It has a really huge difference from the interiors, home appliances, phones, and computers.  This is not new to me since I was born in the ’80s and some of these are still available at that time.

These are the uniforms of the students in Seoul from the 1950s up to the 1970s. But in 1982, the Education of Ministry abolished the hair and dress regulations for middle and high school students. Aside from the uniforms of the students, there are also changes with their bags in the 1950s, students wrapped their books in clothes and carried them on their shoulders or bound them around their waists.

But in the 1970s, the bags were changed into a rectangular shape with buttons and two handles and in the 1990s, small backpacks were introduced and became popular with elementary students. Then after that, middle and high school students started using backpacks too with famous characters and logos. From 2000 up to the present, backpacks became more famous among students.

Children’s Zone

image from Seoul Urban Life Museum

If there’s one thing I love with Korean museums, they always put a kid zone area which is actually a great idea to share with the kids. In this area, kids can listen to a story about ants and engage in different activities using the five senses while experiencing the changes in their daily lives. They can learn about old local stories while experiencing hands-on in various jobs.

Detention Area Exhibition Room

The Detention Area Exhibition Room provides an experience of the lives of an officer who serves in the detention area. Aside from being an officer, visitors can able to try the inmate informs for free provided by the museum.

From 1974 to 2010, a detention area is a place designed to hold unconvicted prisoners in custody before the trial. The historical representation of the facility was recreated to provide an experience for visitors.

Old Alleys of Seoul

The old alleys of Seoul featured in the museum was Reply 1988 feels. With the recreation of the old alleys of Seoul, you can experience the real-life of Seoulites during the late 1960s to 1980s. They also revive the rented rooms, a comic book cafe, and a musical cafe.

Cafe and Snack

There’s also a cafe on the rooftop where you can have some coffee, juice, or tea. The cafe also sells museum souvenirs to visitors.

Tips:

  • Closed on Mondays.
  • Admission is free.
  • Check out the cafe on the 5th floor.
  • Bring your kids with you.
  • The baby feeding room is available.
  • It has an elevator which is very convenient for visitors who use wheelchairs and strollers.
  • Don’t forget to buy some souvenirs.
  • Foods are not allowed.

Other Information

Operation: Tuesday up to Sunday, from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.
Address: Seoul Urban Life Museum (27, Dongil-ro 174-gil, Nowon-gu, Seoul)

How to get here?

Subway: Taereung Station (Line 6,7); Exit 5 and 6

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사랑, Hyejin 

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15 Replies to “A Complete Guide to the Seoul Urban Life Museum”

  1. I love visiting museums, it’s like i’m visiting different historical years. I’m gonna save this as a reference when I visit Seoul.

  2. I’ve been wanting to visit Seoul for a long time now. I’m going to add this museum to my itinerary. Thanks for this!

  3. I love Seoul museums and libre pa, db? aside from that well-maintained and well-curated. ang ganda ng paggawa nila ng old alley. ang nostalgic.

    1. It is nice to visit this kind of museum because we really learn a lot from it. Especially those things that are written in the book.

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