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Busan Modern and Contemporary History Museum Annex Transformed Into a Wonderful Cultural Complex

Written and Photographed by Travel Writer Mun Cheol-jin

Busan Modern and Contemporary History Museum Annex  Transformed Into a Wonderful Cultural Complex
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The area around Jung-gu, Busan, where the Gukje Market, the Bosu Book Alley, and the Provisional Capital Memorial Hall are located, is a living history textbook that fully embraces Busan's modern and contemporary history. In particular, the Busan Modern History Museum, which was used as the Mokpo Branch of the Oriental Development Company during the Japanese colonial period, is a symbolic space of Busan's modern and contemporary history and is the center of Busan's historical excursions.

Busan is in the process of transforming the Busan Modern History Museum and the former Bank of Korea Busan headquarters building right next to it into the 'Busan Modern and Contemporary History Museum.' The Busan Modern History Museum opened after its renovation as the 'Busan Modern and Contemporary History Museum Annex.' So let's go to the annex of the Busan Modern and Contemporary History Museum, which has been transformed into a cultural complex.

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A Living Witness of the Modern and Contemporary History of Busan

The former Busan Modern History Museum was built in 1929 during the Japanese colonial period as the Busan branch of the division Oriental Development Company’s Mokpo division. The Western-style building, which shows early modernist architecture, was used as an invasion base to plunder the land, sea, and resources of Busan before liberation. After liberation, it was used as accommodation for U.S. troops.

Since the establishment of the Korean government, it has been used as the U.S. Cultural Center and suffered an arson incident during the democratization movement in the 1980s, becoming a living witness of Busan's modern and contemporary history. After the building was returned to citizens in 1999, it was reborn as the Busan Modern History Museum. And in 2023, it was transformed into a resting place for citizens and a cultural complex.


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Daecheongseoga and Daecheongmaru

Entering the building with large arched windows and lotus-shaped reliefs, the first thing that catches your eye is the all-white lounge. The lounge, with chairs and tables sparsely spaced, is an open space thanks to high ceilings and large windows.

At the back of the lounge is a shelf with over 10,000 books and a space for browsing archives. In this space named 'Daecheongseoga,' various humanities programs such as book curation exhibitions, book talks, and cultural performances are held. There is also a separate space for children and a separate shelf for books related to Busan.


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When you go up to the 'Daecheongmaru' on the 2nd floor, you will first encounter a small exhibition space that tells the history and structure of this building. A unique feature is the exposed ceiling which reveals the structure of the building can. You can see that three methods—reinforced concrete structures, steel frame structures, and steel frame reinforced concrete structures—were used in combination according to the technical and periodic conditions at the time of new construction.

If you go further inside, there are bookshelves lined with books and a reading table where you can read the volumes that take your interest. There is also a separate reading area along the window. It is literally 'Daecheongmaru,' where you can take off your shoes and read a book while looking out the window comfortably. You can feel the sophisticated atmosphere as if you came to a nice cafe.


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Cultural Complex

The Busan Modern and Contemporary History Museum Annex is a cultural complex that combines various functions such as a library, archives, museum, and resting place. You can stop by and cool off while walking down the street. It is a good place to meet someone and sit by a sunny window and read books leisurely. It can also be used as a place of learning. People of all ages can enjoy the space the way they want.

In commemoration of the opening of the annex, Busan's books are exhibited under the theme of 'Emotion of the Times and the Face of the Region' in the main library on the 1st floor until June 15. About 40 books and magazines that were published in Busan from 1950 to 1955, when the Korean War broke out, or that deal with Busan, provide a glimpse into the times and history of Busan in the past.

It plays the role of a Sarangbang while carrying out various cultural programs: 'Old Downtown Alley Walk,' an annex exploration experience program, 'Old Downtown Love Song,' a performance program; and 'Ego Island,' a psychological exploration experience program.


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Walk around Yongdusan Park

After touring the annex of the Busan Modern and Contemporary History Museum, visitors naturally head to Yongdusan Park, right behind the building. After a short walk along the thick forest trail along the low hill, an open space appears, and the clock tower and Busan Tower, the symbols of Yongdusan Park, appear in front of you.

Yongdusan Park, located at the foot of Yongdusan Mountain, is Busan's representative tourist destination, offering a panoramic view of Nampo-dong, the old downtown of Busan, and the entire North Port area. If you go up to Busan Tower, you can see Busan's east, west, north, south, and every corner, but the view from the Octagonal Pavilion next to it is also great. In addition, Bukangdaegyo Bridge, which crosses the coast of Busan, Jagalchi, and Namhangdaegyo Bridge, spread out beautifully under your feet.

An escalator was placed connecting Yongdusan Park to Gwangbok-dong Fashion Street. However, the escalator operates only on the way up from the fashion street to Yongdusan Park, so you must use the stairs to go down. There is a slow post box at the entrance where the escalator departs. If you take a picture while looking at the screen and enter your email address, you will receive it in one year, so don't miss it.

Overview
  • Address

    104, Daecheong-ro, Jung-gu, Busan
  • Inquiry

    +82-51-607-8001 (Information Desk)
  • Website

    https://www.busan.go.kr/mmch/index
  • Closing Dates

    January 1, Every Monday
  • Hours

    Tuesday–Sunday
    09:00−18:00 (No admission allowed after 17:00)
  • Service Fees

    Free
  • Traffic Information

    Walk for 7 min from Exit 5 of Jungang Station on Busan Metro Line 1
    Parking: Yongdusan Park Parking Lot

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