The Busan Modern and Contemporary History Museum recently reopened its annex as a humanities complex cultural space that combines museums, libraries, and archives. The opening ceremony was held on March 2, 2023, and was attended by city and district councilors, humanities and cultural organizations, and the general public.
The Busan Modern and Contemporary History Museum Annex is a Western-style modern building built in 1929. It was previously the Busan branch of the Oriental Development Company, which was established by the Empire of Japan in 1908 and was a national enterprise built as a result of Japanese colonial exploitation policy toward the Korean Empire and other countries in East Asia. After the Korean War, the building was used as the American Cultural Center of Busan for about 50 years.
During the opening ceremony, a media art work titled “Window, a Passage of History” was presented as a commemorative performance. The artwork utilized the features of the museum’s historical space and projected bold scenes of Busan’s modern and contemporary history on the arched windows and circular columns. The work summarized the process by which Busan transformed from a quiet fishing village into a metropolitan city in Korea through the periods of opening ports, development, democratization, and industrialization.
A 2-meter-high “Citizen’s Book Tower” was also unveiled during the opening ceremony. The tower was stacked with more than 1,500 books owned by the Busan Museum of Modern and Contemporary History and donated books. The book tower was designed to reflect the direction of the annex, which will be established as a humanities complex cultural space with citizens. Additionally, the museum received “citizen wish cards” and hung them on the book tower during a one-month pilot operation period to reflect citizens’ expectations and requests in the operation of the museum.
The Busan Modern and Contemporary History Museum Annex is located in the old downtown of Busan, and it will serve as a base for cultural regeneration in the area by connecting historical and cultural resources such as Bosu-dong Bookstore Alley, the Provisional Capital Memorial Hall, and Gukje Market.
The Busan Modern and Contemporary History Museum Annex is currently featuring a book curation exhibition titled “Books of Busan – Emotions of the Times, Faces of the Region.” The exhibition sheds light on the history and significance of Provisional Capital Busan, showcasing 40 rare books and magazines about the city from the 1950s. Visitors can enjoy the exhibition until June 15. Additionally, the museum has planned a series of humanities programs, including special lectures related to the exhibition.