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Seoul Museum of Craft Art is now fully open

Treasure No. 653 “Folding Screen of Embroidered Sagye Bungyeogdo” (SeMoCA)
Treasure No. 653 “Folding Screen of Embroidered Sagye Bungyeogdo” (SeMoCA)
After successfully showcasing eight craft art exhibitions, the Seoul Museum of Craft Art held its official opening ceremony Monday, unveiling special places located inside the museum, including a craft shop that offers a variety of craft works produced by artisans whose works are part of the museum’s collection.

Located in Jongno, central Seoul, the country’s first national museum dedicated to Korean craft art opened to the public on July 16 with eight craft exhibitions, quickly becoming a popular destination with nearly 80,000 visitors in the past four months.

“The museum shows invaluable beauty of Korean craftworks that you may have overlooked as they are part of our everyday life. At the museum, you will get to see Korean craftworks from the New Stone Age to the contemporary era,” director Kim Soo-jung told reporters at the opening presentation Monday. 

The Seoul Museum of Craft Art in Jongno, central Seoul (SeMoCA)
The Seoul Museum of Craft Art in Jongno, central Seoul (SeMoCA)
In line with the government’s “living with COVID-19” scheme, the museum officially opened Monday, opening workshop programs, a craft shop, a cafe, the museum’s visible storage area on the fourth floor that holds 6,000 crafts and the library on the first floor that holds some 10,000 books and journals on craft art and fine art.

The museum is home to some 23,000 crafts, including Korea’s designated treasures such as the four-piece folding screen “Folding Screen of Embroidered Sagye Bungyeogdo” from the late Goryeo Kingdom (918-1392), which was designated as Treasure No. 653. The museum also holds some 15,000 documents at the craft archives room located on the third floor.

The museum’s craft shop is a must-visit place where works by 30 craft artists whose works are part of the museum’s collection are available for purchase. The items include metal, wood, ceramics, textiles and lacquer works. The display and selection of art on sale will change according to the 24 seasonal periods of the lunar calendar.

Ongoing exhibitions include two permanent exhibitions -- “Embroidery in Bloom” and “Bojagi, Embracing Daily Life” -- that show the delicacy of Korean embroidery and “bojagi,” or wrapping cloth.

The museum is planning to showcase the second part of the exhibition, “Craft, Moving Beyond Time and Boundaries,” which will feature lacquered works, metal and textile crafts, after the first part from July 16 to Oct. 24 that focused on ceramics, glass and wood works. The upcoming exhibition will open as soon as the full evaluation of the exhibition environment is completed, according to the museum. 

The ceramics studio at the children’s museum of SeMoCA (Park Yuna/The Korea Herald)
The ceramics studio at the children’s museum of SeMoCA (Park Yuna/The Korea Herald)
The museum’s exhibitions feature an English-language digital docent that can be requested at the information desk. The museum also runs a children’s museum that allows kids to enjoy hands-on experiences of craft art at the woodcraft, ceramics, metalcraft, cloth and open studios.

Reservations through the museum’s official website are recommended to visit the museum. The museum offers six slots throughout the day until 6 p.m., allowing 450 people for each 80-minute session. The museum is closed Mondays.

The museum occupies the former site of Poongmoon Girls’ High School, which relocated to Gangnam in 2017 and became a coed school.

By Park Yuna (yunapark@heraldcorp.com)
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