[Korea Travel] Nostalgia of the Daegaya People in Chuncheon National Museum

Chuncheon National Museum (국립춘천박물관) was open in Chuncheon, Gangwon province on October 30, 2002. It is an open space to learn and experience the culture and history of Gangwon province, which is often being forgotten in the shadow of big, touristy cities, such as Seoul of Busan.

Last week I have finally visited Chuncheon’s National Museum and learned more about the history of this beautiful province, dating back even to the Paleolithic Period when the first people inhabited Gangwon about 100,000 years ago.

There are four different exhibition halls, divided by the period as well as separating permanent exhibitions from the special ones. Exhibition hall I talk about the prehistoric era when first inhabitants arrived at Gangwon province, which is conveniently joined with the second exhibition room that brings you to the Ancient culture, which shows you artifacts from the Three Kingdoms as well the early development of Korea as a state.

Exhibition halls III and IV introduce you to the Goryeo, Joseon and Modern Times era, which is the most widely known due to the popular media and international history outlets. Therefore, my main purpose of this visit was not to re-learn something I already knew but to expose myself to the deeper level of Korean history, so after briefly exploring the permanent exhibition, I head to the special exhibition room.

“Nostalgia of the Daegaya People” was opened to the public on August 13th and is going to stay in the museum until the 6th of October. The exhibition is there to introduce the history of Daegaya people to the public as well as raise awareness about the fate of a nation, which moved to the region over 1500 years ago and due to the frequent warfare, allowing us to appreciate our familiar surroundings.

Back in 1992, when the large-scale archeological excavation took place in Chuam-dong, the city of Donghae, numerous Silla Tombs were discovered in the area, researchers have noticed, that most of the artifacts (such as ceramic vessels) did not match those of the Silla people. It leads to the deeper research, which later has shown, that the characteristics of those artifacts were distinct to the ceramic tradition of Daegaya.

Even though up until now, Daegaya were thought to be centered in Goryeong area, current finds showed that they had to move over 200 kilometers and settle in Gangwon province, due to the frequent warfare in the other areas of the peninsula. It was really interesting, seeing ancient tombs, war armor as well as musical instruments, since I could learn something, I could have never learned from the textbooks.

The museum also features an auditorium with 230 seats, a performance stage, a seminar room, a library, and even a cafe, where visitors can relax during their visit. I went on a rainy day, so I took some warm tea to warm up and that was the best decision of my day!

If you like active learning, just like me, make sure to visit this museum before October, so you don’t miss this special exhibition! It is also a great option for a rainy day, as most of the museum facilities are indoors.

In addition to that, the visitation of the museum is free of charge. It would not cost you anything, to gain this priceless knowledge and learn not only about the Daegaya people but also about the Ancient history of the Korean peninsula in general. Back then, there was no state, there was no separation between North and South Koreas, as well as the politics of how we understand it from a current perspective.

I would recommend Chuncheon’s National Museum to solo travelers, researchers and all sorts of curious people. It could make a good family trip too, therefore you’d have to keep in mind that your child would be old enough to comprehend and understand the concept of the museum and keep respective to other visitors that are there for the purpose of learning.

Place: Chuncheon National Museum (국립춘천박물관)
Address: 70, Useok-ro, Chuncheon-si, Gangwon-do
강원도 춘천시 우석로 70 (석사동)
Entrance fee: FREE
Visiting hours: Weekdays 10:00-18:00
Weekends & Public holidays 10:00-19:00
Saturdays (April-October) 10:00-21:00
Last Wednesday of every month 10:00-21:00
*The Museum is closed every Monday and on national holidays

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