National Museum Of Korean Contemporary History

Special Exhibition

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민이 주인 되다


Exhibition Period : 2017. 06. 26(Mon) - 09. 03(Sun)

Place : National Museum of Korean Contemporary History 3rd Floor Special Exhibition Hall

  • Price : Free
  • Opening Hours : 9am – 6pm (From 1 July to 10 am - 9 pm)
  • For additional inquiries call : +82-02-3703-9200


  • Establishing Democracy
  • Establishing Democracy through Resistance and Compromise
In the mid-1980s, the struggle of the students and the opposition party for democratization and the constitutional amendment movement for a direct election system began to grow and intensify. However, in April 1987, the President Chun Doo-hwan announced measures for the “Declaration for maintaining the current constitution” refusing to amend the constitution. Amidst these circumstances, it was revealed that the case of Park Jong-chul’s torture and death had been downplayed and fabricated, and public outrage exploded into national anti-dictatorship, pro-democracy protests.
On June 10th, in 22 regions across the nation, 400,000 people participated in the “National Rally to Denounce the Fabrication and Concealment of the Torture and Death of Park Jong-chul and to Protest Attempts to Protect the Constitution.” Especially because Lee Han-yeol had been hit in the head by a tear gas grenade and fallen into unconsciousness (died July 5th) the day before the rally, many more people participated. On June 26th, the “Great National March of Peace” was held in 37 different regions, and 1,000,000 people participated nationwide demanding democratization.
Facing national resistance, the regime issued the June 29 Declaration, the gist of it being a constitutional amendment for a direct election system. In October 1987, with agreement between the ruling party and the opposition party, and a national referendum, the amendment was made to the constitution. The long struggle for democratization ended on a note of victory at least in that moment, but it also meant a new beginning.
  • Consolidating Democracy
  • Consolidating the Democratic Constitutional System through Citizens’ Power on the Foundation of Democracy
The successful execution and the consolidation of democracy after 1987 can be examined by focusing on three key elements: “Constitutional Government,” the system of democracy, “Citizens,” the agents of democracy, and “Foundation,” the historical tradition and socioeconomic basis for the development of democracy. A minimum standard for measuring whether procedural democracy has been consolidated is two turnovers of power. Since 1987 until now, Korea has undergone three peaceful transfers of power through elections. Also, the impeachment of the president in 2017 showed that the rule of law is functioning properly in our society. All of this was possible through the power of the citizens. Since 1987, civil society has developed social movements in various fields, kept the government in check, and worked to realize democracy through active participation. Such success in the consolidation of democracy would not have been possible without the democratic republic tradition that goes back to the Provisional Government, the strong desire for democracy evident in the April Revolution and the May 18 Democratization Movement, and the economic development and rise in level of education that became its socioeconomic foundation.
  • Embracing Democracy
  • Embracing the Values of Human Rights, Equality, Liberty through Democracy
One can see how much the key values of democracy, “human rights,” “equality,” and “liberty,” have been improved in our society and in which areas they are lacking.
In “Human Rights,” there is the guarantee of basic human rights such as activities of the National Human Rights Commission, the guarantee of the right to pursue one’s happiness through improved social welfare, as well as labor rights and the rights of children and youth. In “Equality,” one shall examine not only prohibition of discrimination toward social minorities but also economic democratization through equality before the law which guarantees equal opportunity. In “Liberty,” freedoms such as freedom of the body, freedom of ideology and expression, and freedom of economic activities will be dealt with.
  • Dreaming Democracy
  • Dreaming of a Democracy of Hope in the Midst of Everyday Life
Consider how much democracy is internalized in our everyday life and which direction of democracy we should take in the future. Democracy does not exist only in the macro level such as in political institutions. Each of us need to reflect upon how much we try to put democratic values into practice in our daily lives at home, work, or school. Although democracy in our society has been developed and consolidated over the past 30 years, there are still many tasks we face. Let us think about what we can do for the continuous development of democracy.