National Museum of Korea
On October 28, 2005, the NMK reopened in its new permanent home in Yongsan, on a site of 307,227 m2 (building area: 45,438 m2). Yongsan, the geographic heart of Seoul, is backed by the expansive Mt. Namsan and fronted by the Han River. Yongsan is also the true cultural center of Seoul, sitting just south of the five palaces of the Joseon Dynasty and the War Memorial, and north of the National Library and the Seoul Arts Center.
The new museum, boasting more extensive and convenient facilities than its predecessors, attracted more than 100,000 visitors in its first three days, reaching one million in attendance after 44 days, and ten million in about three and a half years. In 2009, the NMK attracted 2,730,204 visitors, which ranked as the highest attendance figure in Asia and 10th worldwide (according to the Art Newspaper).
Reborn as a “cultural complex” that all Koreans can enjoy, the new NMK has updated its mission to not only to preserve and display relics, but also to host a variety of programs and cultural events in conjunction with the Children’s Museum and permanent exhibitions. Beginning in 2008, the NMK offered free admission to all of its permanent exhibits, thereby enhancing the popularity of the museum and altering the perception that museums are for one-time visits only.
The NMK also reinforced its numerous exchange programs with overseas museums, holding special internationally themed exhibitions, such as “The Glory of Persia” (2008), “Egypt, the Great Civilization: Pharaohs and Mummies” (2009), “Korean Museums: 100 Years in Remembrance” (a 100th anniversary celebration of Korean Museums) (2009), and “Gods, Heroes and Mortals: Art and Life in Ancient Greece” (2010).