We visited this museum a few years ago but wanted to show my mum while she is visited because it’s so interesting to get a glimpse into Korea’s recent past, especially while in modern Seoul.
Korea’s modern history of development is actually pretty amazing. It is one of the only countries in the world to go from a war-torn, poverty stricken country, to a developed, technologically driven, modern country in such a short amount of time. South Korea had to receive foreign aid after the Korean war, it was poorer than North Korea at one point, but is now a country that gives aid to countries in need. It’s a pretty big deal that they were able to change and develop so quickly. This is one of the reasons why looking back into recent history is so fascinating. Hugh’s childhood differs a lot to mine. My mother is visiting and came with us and we talked about how Hugh’s childhood is actually more similar to hers in the 1960’s in Australia, than mine in the 1980’s/1990’s in Australia (because Korea was behind in so many developments compared to Australia). Many of the things from the 1960’s and 1970’s were still like that, especially in the rural areas, during a lot of Hugh’s childhood, so he could reminisce while in the museum. When people are interested in South Korea now, they see the Kpop and the Kdramas and the glamour and technology, but not that long ago things were very different. While this museum focuses mostly on how people lived, there are displays about Korea’s traumatic history last century: of course Japanese occupation and the Korean war. It’s worth the trip up to Paju to see this museum. Tourist brochures explain how to get there and their website is here.