National Museum Of Korean Contemporary History

Special Exhibition

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원본 포스터 다운로드 원본 포스터
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An Audible Witness to History

An Audible Witness to History

National Museum of Korean Contemporary History

Nov. 21st, 2019(Thu) - Mar. 1st, 2020(Sun)

  • Price : Free
  • Hours :10:00 – 18:00
    Opening hours will be extended to nine o’clock in the evening on Wednesdays. (Last admission is one hour before the closing time.)
  • For additional inquiries call : +82-02-3703-9200

Opening Special Exhibition


Can you hear it?
Many among us keep their ears alert, quietly pay attention, calmly reflect on what they hear and casually pass by. Sounds are produced all around us, but they naturally fade in a flash and disappear without a trace. On the other hand, advances in audio recording technology have now allowed us to preserve with clarity the sounds heard during tumultuous times.

An Audible Witness to History is a special exhibition that focuses on sounds captured at historical moments and during social upheavals. These include people’s collective shouts bursting forth on the streets, voices at the scene of tense and tragic incidents, the words of songs that had to be stifled rather than sung, messages of enlightenment and conviction, and even recordings of everyday sounds so familiar to us all. The diverse recordings presented here offer a new way to experience the story of Korea’s contemporary history.

Now, we’ll begin our journey with the sounds that will take us backward in time.

Audio Promenade
We are approaching places that emit sounds. Whose voices were they? When was this? Where did it occur? What in the world happened? Sometimes there are delightful and happy cries. At other times, we can hear the tense reverberations of conflict and confrontation. As we walk along with these sounds, we can feel vividly historical moments in Korean people’s lives. Audio Promenade provides you with the voices of Koreans uttered as the nation’s contemporary history unfolds.
Audio Theater
Audio Theater is calling you with clear, historical recordings from commemorative or symbolic days, along with the terminology applied for specific incidents and events. A 15-minute audio drama called The Way We Were is presented here, bringing the voices of diverse people amidst the twists and turns of Korean history from the early 20th century until today.

Even small mutterings from the period contain the earnest desires of contemporary people, working like the dust that seeds the clouds and sparks rainfall. Momentary bits have been woven together to create a drama with small sound bytes that walk us back through the process toward social consensus. At the same time, we may do well to ask ourselves what sounds are most important in all our lives.
Audio Warehouse
Sound exists without physical form, but technological advances allow us to record, store, play back and transmit sound. Now we have the audio equipment necessary to listen to the sounds we choose anytime and anyplace.

Audio Warehouse offers different sounds from yesteryear. These include radio news broadcasts that Koreans yearning for liberation would listen to from the distant outside world as well as dramas Koreans would huddle around their TVs to watch decades ago. Moreover, various audio devices are employed to fill Audio Warehouse. This is more than a simple equipment array and sound collection. This is a venue for us to share four feelings on what historical significance these sound recordings have.

Primary audio materials/sound recordings

전시 자료명, 소장 및 제공처, 자료설명을 나타낸 표입니다.
No. Material Collection/ Provided by
1 Audio recording of Joseoneo Dokbon textbook [Hogtten Iyagi] National Museum of Korean Contemporary History (Donated by Lee Jin-won)
2 Son Kee Chung’s victory and speech at the 1936 Berlin Olympics Son Kee Chung Memorial Hall
3 The fostering of independence activists Josoang Memorial Foundation, etc.
4 Report on the April 19 Revolution Busan MBC
5 Anti-communism speech contest Research Institute for the Study of Korean Popular Music
6 Live performance of Cliff Richard in Korea (1969) Research Institute of Korean Popular Music
7 - Flag-lowering ceremony - Public drill exercise - Curfew sirens Ulsan MBC, etc.
8 Media consolidation of 1980 and final broadcast CBS
9 Live broadcast of “Finding Dispersed Families” KBS
10 Video of Tears (Nunmului Video) National Museum of Korean Contemporary History (Donated by Lee Eung-jun)

Primary exhibition materials

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1.Joseoneo Dokbon (record) : National Museum of Korean Contemporary History 2.RCA shortwave radioreceiver:KBS On 3.Gold Star A-501 (radio):National Museum of Korean Contemporary History 4.Gold Star VD-191 (television):National Museum of Korean Contemporary History 5.Cliff Richard Live in Korea (special album, pamphlet, and ticket):Research Institute of Korean Popular Music 6.Uplifting songs (vinyls):National Museum of Korean Contemporary History / Research Institute of Korean Popular Music 7.Censored music (vinyls):National Museum of Korean Contemporary History / Research Institute of Korean Popular Music 8Protest songs (scores/lyrics):Research Institute of Korean Popular Music 9.Original submissions from live broadcasts of “Finding Dispersed Families”:KBS