Bank of Korea Museum
By Shim Hyun-chul
With the economic crisis hitting the world, the value of money is becoming the talk of the town. Money makes a large part of our economy as it measures the economic flow, and ultimately decides the economic power of a nation.
The value of currency is important, but if you take a closer look, there is so much more to learn.
Money or currency bills are actually a work of art. People can learn about the people, history and culture of a nation through its currency.
The Bank of Korea Museum displays currency and other documents of not only Korea, but also other countries around the world. The museum first opened in 2001 to celebrate the bank's 50th anniversary, and reopened in 2007 after renovations.
The building where the museum is located was built during the Japanese colonial rule and was also used as the main office of the Bank of Korea since 1950. It was destroyed during the Korea War (1950-53) and was restored in 1958. The building itself is considered an important artifact, and was designated National Historic Site No. 280 in 1981.
Comprised of three floors, the first floor presents the role of the Bank of Korea, the central banking system, the making of banknotes and coins and also the display of currencies from various periods in chronological order. Visitors can even learn how to differentiate real currency from counterfeits.
The middle floor offers various displays on gold and currencies and also an introduction of businesses connected to gold by the Bank of Korea.
The second floor shows the Replica Vault, currencies from around the world and also the Bank of Korea gallery. Here visitors can get a glimpse of banknotes from more than 170 countries.
The museum holds a special exhibition every year. This year, the event will be held through May 3, 2009 under the theme ``Currency Zoo.'' At the exhibition, visitors can find 45 international currencies that have animal designs. Students can learn about the environment and also animals that live in fields, meadows and jungles through these banknotes and coins. It will also be a chance to learn more about saving the environment and protecting the animals from extinction. For more information, visit www.bok.or.kr or call (02) 759-4281.