If you are looking for some interactive and high innovative museum try visiting the Seoul Museum of History which features the traces of the city from the 16th century.

Seoul Museum of History

The Seoul Museum of History was opened in 1985 but reopened last May 5, 2002, after the renovations done by the Seoul Metropolitan Government. The museum lets the visitors enhance their understanding of the historical events and places of the city.  For over 600 years, the museum preserved the most significant relics of the city. Visitors can join the interactive exhibitions with various hands-on programs. The museum also offers an automatic translator (various languages are available) which is called U-Exhibit Guidance System for visitors. This is to let the visitors more interested and understand the information well and it’s more convenient.

The museum offers free admission and operates from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm during weekdays (Tuesday to Friday). During weekends and holidays, it is open from 9:00 am till 7:00 pm. During winter, from November to February the museum is open from 9:00 am up to 6:00 pm. For more details, you can visit the Seoul Museum of History‘s website.

The exhibition is divided into five sections and has an outdoor exhibit area in which visitors can able to learn about the evolution of the land from prehistoric times to modern-day which is today.

Zone 1: Seoul of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1863)

Seoul Museum of History

This zone depicts Seoul during the Joseon Dynasty from the establishment of Hanyang (Seoul today) to the opening of the port. It also introduces the palaces including Gyeongbukgung, Changdeokgung, Gyeonghuigung, Deoksugung, and Changgyeonggung. The villages were built like Bukchon bordered by Changdeokgung to the east and Gyeongbukgung to the west. Bukchon was the northern village that became the home of wealthy and intellectual high ranking officials. Jungchon was the middle village known today as Jongno area and was the home of the professional officers like interpreters and medical officers, minor officials, and merchants. Namchon was one of the villages built during the 16th century and located in the southern village. In this village, a number of scholars of high integrity lived here along with families with upper-class ancestry.

Seoul Museum of History

During the Joseon Dynasty, Unjongga street known today at Jongno was the most crowded place in Seoul. Sijeon was located here which is the most important public market during that time. This was the place where goods were secure for the royal family and authorities. At Unjongga street the Bronze Bell of Bosingak Tower can be found here.

Zone 2: The Capital of the Daehan Empire (1863-1910)

Seoul Museum of History

This exhibition depicts Seoul during the time of the Korean Empire and the opening of the port period. The artifacts that can be seen here are from the time when Seoul citizens encountered changes and influences from new cultures and reformation and fights against foreign colonizing powers.

Zone 3: Seoul under Japanese Control (1910-1945)

This exhibition presents the lives of the people of Gyeongseong (name of Seoul during the Japanese occupation), a colonial city that had lost its former urban identity under Japanese colonization.

Zone 4:  Period of Rapid Growth Seoul (1945-2002)

This exhibit room describes the development of Seoul from the liberation in 1945 through the 2002 World Cup. Apartments and buildings were built which shows that Seoul recovered from the devastation of the Korean War.

Zone 5: Seoul Today and Tomorrow

This exhibition hall features the present day of Seoul which visitors can see a highly realistic scale model (1,500:1) of Seoul using advanced multimedia technology and intricate models.

Outdoor Exhibit Area

The museum’s outdoor exhibit area has 16 displays of artifacts from the Goryeo dynasty (918-1392) to modern days. The displays include the materials from the previous Gwanghwamun gate, monuments of Prince Eungsingun, King Heungchin, Prince and Yeongseon, and Yi Wu. The famous Street Car No. 381, built by the Japan Vehicle Corporation which operated in Seoul in the 1930s. The streetcar traveled the streets of Seoul for almost 38 years.


Upon visiting this museum, sponsored by the Seoul Museum of History One Day Tour,  I’ve seen how Seoul transformed into a prehistoric site into a modern city. I love how the government preserves the relics and how they presented it in a modern way. I like the scale models of Seoul from the Joseon dynasty up to the present day. In addition, the advanced technology of Korea made the tour more interesting with the help of English speaking guides.


  • Closed on Mondays.
  • Admission is free.
  • Visit Gyeonghui Palace after visiting the museum.
  • Visit Donuimun Village Museum while wearing a retro student uniform.
  • Wear comfortable shoes.
  • Try the Korean foods at the nearby restaurants.

03177  55 Saemunan-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul

How to get here:
Subway line 5, Seodaemun Station, exit 4, walk about 300m

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8 thoughts on “Seoul Museum of History: Traces of the City”

  1. I haven’t been to this museum though I have gone around Donuimun during its early stages. I would like to see Street Car 381. Ang tagal pala nyang bumyahe.

  2. Visiting museums are the best experience to immersed with cultures. Also, the admission fees are always reasonable, and some are cheap, so what not visit?

  3. I really admire you on doing a great job in your article featuring History and great places to enjoy. I also love the tips that you gave at the end of your article.

  4. Love how Seoul preserves its history through museums like this. Would be nice to see one day, not just for myself, as we are mostly familiar with Joseon era and modern Seoul.

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