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CEO Message Welcome to the National Museum of Contemporary Korean History

  • History is commonly regarded as a record of the past. History, however, is written in the ‘present,' and thus, its value is determined by the standards of the ‘present.' This outlook is the starting point of the modern and contemporary Korean history the Museum contains. The Museum aims to record and pass on Korea's history of overwhelming challenges and ultimate triumph. In so doing, the Museum hopes to raise national pride and promote national unity to contribute to building a better future for Korea.

    The Museum collects, examines, studies, and displays a wide array of materials related to the tumultuous and exciting history of modern and contemporary history of Korea. It also serves as a massive repository of valuable historical objects and records as well as a cultural space for history education.

    Our collection is comprised of materials from diverse fields, including economy, society, and culture, that pertain to Korea's history of development. The overarching themes of our wide-ranging collection are ‘hardship and triumph' and ‘determination and achievement.' We also document the trial and error that accompanied Korea's history of development. The Museum aims to record the key events of Korean history from the perspective of the Korean people, the protagonist of our nation's ongoing story.
  • Korea overcame colonialism, poverty, and war to become an industrialized, democratic nation. Our story of development inspires many nations. On the flipside of the most brilliant moments of any nation's history, however, there is darkness and shadow. This is because shining achievements leave painful scars. As such, a balanced perspective is crucial when it comes to recording and passing down history.

    It is not easy to design and curate a museum on Korea's modern and contemporary history, which there are still many disagreements, even in academia. Using the historical narrative standardized by academia as the basis, the Museum strives to present Korea's modern and contemporary history as honestly and authentically as possible. Above all else, we endeavor to put the Korean people, the protagonist of the nation's history, at the very center of our narrative.

    The Museum has only just taken very first steps, so there is much room for improvement. We ask for your help in filling that room. The history of Korea is our story, an ongoing story of which we all are a part.

    Kim Wang-sik Director of the National Museum of Korean Contemporary History