The Busan Modern History Museum has been closed for renovations since July 2021, but its annex is scheduled to reopen on Wednesday, March 1, ahead of the main building. The city of Busan has refurbished two historic buildings, the former Bank of Korea Busan Headquarters and the former Busan Modern History Museum, and connected them to create the Busan Modern History Museum, a new cultural space.
A Complicated History and a Renewed Design
The former Busan Modern History Museum, which was constructed in a Western-modern style in 1929, reflects Busan’s modern history. However, its history is complicated. During the Japanese occupation of Korea, it was built for the Oriental Development Company, an organization used to support Japanese colonization of Korea. After Korea’s liberation in 1945, the building was repurposed as the United States Information Service and was the site of the Busan American Cultural Service building arson during student protests in 1982.
To recreate the building’s original design, the museum has removed part of the second-floor slab along the large circular columns, and exposed the low ceiling of the second floor, creating a sense of openness. The annex is now a multifunctional cultural space that includes a library, archives, and exhibition hall. The first floor houses over 10,000 books and archival materials related to Busan’s modern history. On the second floor, there is a small exhibition space that showcases the history of the annex building and its unique structure.
A Gem of the City: Commitment to Knowledge and Accessibility
Not only is the Busan Modern History Museum a feast for the eyes, but it also caters to the needs of its visitors. The library has gone above and beyond to provide a unique reading experience, with seating that mimics the shape of the building’s windows, perfect for curling up with a good book. They’ve even created a designated children’s reading area, ensuring that every member of the community can find a place to rest and learn.
To enrich the minds of its patrons, the library will host a variety of humanities-related programs, from book curation exhibitions to cultural performances, all under the themes of “a library where knowledge becomes wisdom” and “a cultural space created together with citizens.” With its commitment to knowledge and accessibility, the Busan Modern History Museum is truly a gem of the city.
Experience Busan’s Rich Cultural History
Experience Busan’s rich cultural history at the Busan Modern History Museum Annex, which is celebrating its opening with a special book curation exhibition entitled “Books of Busan – Emotions of the Time, Faces of the Region”. This exhibition displays over 40 books and magazines published in Busan during the Korean War in the 1950s, including noteworthy works such as “Colorful Hell” by Busan author Kim Mal-bong and “Modern Literature,” Korea’s oldest literary magazine.
But the exhibition is more than just literature – visitors can also participate in the ‘Pirangi Textbook Making Experience’ to gain insight into the harsh conditions of the period. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to delve into Busan’s unique and captivating cultural heritage.
The Citizen’s Book Tower Unveiling and Future Plans
On March 2, the Busan Modern History Museum Annex will hold its opening ceremony, which will feature the unveiling of the Citizen’s Book Tower. The tower, adorned with over 1,000 books, symbolizes the hope for a prosperous future for the Busan Museum of Modern and Contemporary History. Representatives from local humanities and cultural institutions will attend, and the event is open to the public.
The Busan Modern History Museum Annex provides a unique cultural experience for visitors, showcasing Busan’s rich cultural history through its refurbished historic buildings and new multifunctional space. The annex’s commitment to knowledge and accessibility, as well as its dedication to community involvement, make it a gem of the city. The main building, located in the former headquarters of the Bank of Korea, is expected to open fully in December, so stay tuned for more exciting additions to Busan’s cultural landscape.