The National Museum of Korea opened an underpass connecting its main entrance to Ichon Station today. / Courtesy of National Museum of Korea
By Chung Ah-young
The National Museum of Korea stands majestic in the prime real estate area of Yongsan in central Seoul, where its grand stature enabled it to serve as the venue for the G20 meeting in Seoul in 2011. But since moving from Gyeongbok Palace in 2005, the museum has struggled with a decreasing number of visitors mainly due to the difficulty of getting there, which in winter means fighting against brutal winds in the winding path from nearest bus stops and subway station.
The museum has solved the problem and it opened an underpass called "Moving Museum" today, which connects the nearest subway station, Ichon (subway line 4) and its front gate.
According to the museum, an average of 3 million people visit the museum yearly. Among them, 1.8 million take the subway to get there. The underpass spans 255 meters, including a 160-meter moving walkway and a 95-meter zone designed for exhibitions and performances.
It has been completed two years and eight months after construction started in April 2010. The interior design was directed by Kim Young-se, CEO of INNODESIGN. Under the motifs of Korea and Korean cultural heritage, Kim decorated "taekgeuk" (yin-yang) marks in modern styles and portrayed some of the museum's collection in abstract styles on the walls of the underpass. A glass installation on the exit was created by architect Park Seung-hong.
The museum will hold an opening ceremony today with Culture Minister Choe Kwang-shik in attendance. To celebrate the opening of the underpass, a special exhibition to introduce the museum's past activities and the future plans since its relocation to Yongsan will be held.