South Korean Museums Posted by Ginny on Sep 23, 2011 in Culture
There are so many ways to experience and see traditional Korean culture at work. One of the ways is to visit a museum in Korea, one like the Museum of Straw and Plants Handicraft (짚풀생활사박물관) in Seoul (서울). I love seeing all the things that can be made with straw. I once saw these boots made straw. They kind of reminded me of ugg boots! It’s just mindboggling as to how many things can be made with straw, and it doesn’t stop with just traditional Korean items like shoes and hats.
The Nonghyup Museum (농업박물관) is also in Seoul and is a museum dedicated to traditional Korean farming. Agriculture used to be a big part of Korean life and the museum chronicles the tools and methods of traditional Korean farming. Visitors to the museum can see displays of how ancient farming tools were used. Not only can you see hoes, plows and other farming tools. There are also sifting baskets, sieves and other tools.
I think the most fascinating museum for me to visit was the Lock Museum (쇳대박물관). The Lock Museum has many displays of traditional Korean talismans, locks, charms, latches and keys. It used to be that locks, charms and talisman had both symbolic and functional purposes. Some of the keys and latches had designs of animals like butterflies, peony flowers and peaches. Butterflies are symbolic of martial happiness and peonies are symbolic of wealth, while peaches symbolize longevity.
The Ricecake and Kitchen Utensil Museum (떡부엌살림박물관) features all the different kinds of cutlery used in the history of Korean cuisine. There’s also a section of the Museum that features solely on Korean ricecakes and the kitchenware that were traditionally used to make Korean ricecakes. I found the grinding stones to grind the glutinous rice into rice cake flour especially interesting. The Museum has over 5o displays on a variety of Korean ricecakes. It makes me drool just thinking about it!