The alleyway, the old trail, is still there and it is a bit old-fashioned, but that is why it is more romantic. This alleyway is gradually disappearing. But why? People are looking for Samcheong-dong, Buam-dong, and Ikseon-dong to find an alley mood and the individuality of the area.
These days, there is a place peaking for a Seoul alley trip, Donuimun Museum Village. Between Seodaemun Station and Gwanghwamun Station, it is a quiet alleyway where an old motel and a country-style “slate roof house” stands. Tourists in Seoul, why not travel back in time to Donuimun Museum Village?
‘Donuimun Museum Village’
Tourism in Seoul, Donuimun Museum Village starts at Seodaemun Station on subway line 5 and if you keep walking from Seodaemun Station exit No. 4 you can find alleys that seem to transcend time and space on your left. Today’s destination, where old houses stimulate analog sensibility, is the Donuimun Museum Village.
Donuimun Museum Village is a place where various buildings pass through the modern history of Korea, from the Hanok of the Joseon Dynasty to the houses of Japanese colonial period, and slate roof houses in the 70s and 80s. As the name describes, the entire village is a museum and exhibition hall. Perhaps that is why when you enter the village you have a strange feeling that time and space have entered another world. If you look around at the caf?s, restaurants, flower shops, and handcraft workshops where the owner’s personality is on display, you will feel that times have changed unannounced.
Although the Donuimun Museum Village is overflowing with many attractions, it also holds more than 40 exhibitions and performances. You can also experience various programs such as art and music healing programs and wine classes that are popular among office workers. The “Town Tour Program”, which includes walking around the village with professional docents, is the most popular program of the Donuimun Museum Village. If you want to participate in the program, you can apply through the website.
Address: 43-14 Saemunan-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Time: Every Tue-Sun 11:00 - 22:00
Docent Tours: Every Tue-Sun 12:30 and 16:00
Enjoy the area of the village yard
‘Village Madang (Yard)’
The first stop in the Donuimun Museum Village is the village yard. This is a place where houses that have been preserved for decades have been renovated. It is an art place where anyone can relax and satisfy their artistic desire. At 12:30 on the weekend live performances from modern Korean music to indie bands perform here.
In September, <Lunch Live> with ‘Seoul Street Art Zone’ is planned. A total of 10 artist teams are planning to fill the village yard at 12:20 to 1 pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The good news is you can watch the performance without any reservations ahead of time. Please experience daily life becoming art in the village yard.
There are a variety of live performances during the weekends. In September, <Weekend Drive> and <Donuimun Museum Village X Honghap Valley=Music Day> are planned. You can enjoy both performances free and without any reservation. On Sunday, how about enjoying relaxing and romantic times with those performances and prepare for the coming week?
Time: Every Tuesday and Thursday, 12:20 - 13:00
Time: September 9, 2018, 17:00
<Donuimun Museum Village X Honghap Valley=Music day>
Time: September 15, 2018, 18:00
A to Z of Donuimun Museum Village
‘Donuimun Exhibition hall’
If you pass through the village yard and keep walking down Saemunan alley, you can find the Donuimun exhibition hall. The Donuimun exhibition hall is composed of four halls, a ruins exhibition hall, Hanjeong hall, Ajio hall, and an education hall. All three halls are connected except education hall so you can begin your exploration anywhere.
The highlights of the Donuimun Exhibition hall are Hanjeong and Ajio. Hanjeong which is very near to the village yard is remodeled from a Korean restaurant which was open until the 2000s. You can see pictures and video of the process of transforming into the Donuimun Museum Village from Saemunan village (the old name of the Donuimun Museum Village). If you are interested in seeing how old things are changing into new things, this exhibit will make it feel like you are in a scene of history.
Hanjeong’s second floor is connected to Ajio which is another exhibition hall. Ajio is the name of an Italian restaurant that opened there. Ajio is a place where all the history was recorded around Donuimun from the Joseon Dynasty to the present after the opening of ports in Korea. From the tiles which were discovered from the remodeling to the small accessories, you can enjoy the details of Donuimun’s history.
The Ruins exhibition hall exhibits some parts of the Gyeonghuigung (Gyeonghui Palace) which is lost now. Gyeonghuigung was third largest palace of the Joseon Dynasty’s five palaces. Unfortunately, you can see only part of it now, and at least feel some of it in the Ruins exhibition hall.
Site of young artists
Since we experienced the Joseon Dynasty in the Donuimun exhibition hall, now it is time for modern history. The Seodaemun Motel which faces the Donuimun exhibition hall, has been opened for the first time just few years ago since the 1950s. It has traces of time and memories due to its age.
These days, the motel is an exhibition for showing art from the young artists. In September, you can enjoy the <Seven Pictures-Hanging Room> exhibition. The theme of the exhibition is ‘Lines’. Many posters about theme are hanging about the motel as mobiles and waiting for the visitors. I recommend this for those who want to enjoy something different besides just the art on the wall.
When you find a quote from literatures unexpectedly in daily life, sometimes it touches you or it becomes a tonic for your life. If it does, please don’t miss the literature banding machine in the Seven Pictures exhibition which will give you a quote from poetry and novels.
Date: September 15, 2018 - October 15, 2018
Time: Every Tuesday-Sunday 11:00 ? 18:00
Location: Seodaemun Motel
100 years of time, but just one day is enough!
Sometimes analog sensibilities feel more refined. When it does, how about we time travel to Donuimun Museum Village which has the growing pains and memories of the modern history of Korea? You can enjoy plenty with just one day, from the Joseon Dynasty to the modern day.
Photos: Editor’s own, website of Donuimun Museum Village, Instagram, Facebook, etc.