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Posted : 2012-12-04 16:43
Updated : 2012-12-04 16:43

Restored Seokjojeon Hall to serve as museum for Korean Empire

This 1918 photo shows an audience chamber on the second floor of the Seokjojeon Hall built in a Western style at Deoksu Palace during the Joseon Kingdom (1392-1910). It was built in 1910 as part of modernization efforts by King Gojong. The Cultural Heritage Administration plans to transform it into a history museum on the Korean Empire by the end of next year following the restoration of the hall. / Yonhap

By Chung Ah-young

The Seokjojeon Hall of Deoksu Palace will be reborn as the History Museum of the Korean Empire after a restoration project is finished by the end of next year, according to the Cultural Heritage Administration.

The Seokjojeon Hall, a stone house built in the Western style during the time of King Gojong (1852-1919), has been under restoration to its original state since 2009.

Costing more than 13 billion won, the project is focusing on rebuilding the interior and exterior structures mostly damaged during the Japanese colonial period (1910-45) and the Korean War (1950-53)

"The structure will be used to restore the historical value of the ill-fated Korean Empire which sought to be a modern, autonomous state," Park Yeong-geun, an official of the administration, said.

The structure will be turned into an exhibition hall connected to Jungmyeongjeon Hall at the palace.

John McLeavy Brown, an accountant of the empire, first suggested the construction of the building in 1897 and then British architect John Reginald Harding designed the structure and it was completed in 1910.
This photo shows the three-story Seokjojeon Hall built at Deoksu Palace during the Joseon Kingdom (1392-1910) / Korea Times file
King Gojong moved his main residence from Gyeongbok Palace to Deoksu Palace in 1897 and changed the name of the state from Joseon to the Korean Empire.

To uplift the dignity of the throne, he extended the palace, having more Western-style structures built. Thus the palace has a mixture of traditional and Western-style architecture.

The building was misused and transformed during the Japanese occupation and the Korean War. Seokjojeon Hall was used as a royal museum in 1933 undergoing interior changes with its chimney being removed. In 1938, its gilt decoration on the walls was ruined in the process of transforming it into an art gallery. In 1950, exterior structures of the building were partially destroyed during the Korean War.


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