Explore Jeongdong-gil: Donuimun Museum

Fall is coming and we are bracing for the cold here in Jeongdong Theater. However, there are still many places around the theater to be explored.

Introducing the Donuimun Museum Village near Jeongdong Theater.


Donuimun Museum Village is a museum in the form of a village. It is located in a retro area that preserved old buildings and old alleys such as Hanok, flowering houses, Japanese houses in the Joseon Dynasty, slabs and French houses from the 1970s and 1980s, as an urban regeneration project. After looking round the village, we recommend our performance of <The Palace: The Tale of Jang Nok-su>.

<The Palace: The Tale of Jang Nok-su> is a creative dance drama that shows the story of Jang Nok-su who lived a dramatic life as a slave, courtesan, and concubine through traditional dance. The story of Jang Nok-su shows the different stages of her life as a innocent and tomboy-like slave, as a protagonist who dance and voiced ranked her as a top artist of her time, and finally as Je-an Degun’s woman in the royal court.

‘100-year Modern Modern Archives of Memory’

Donuimun is the old name of Seodaemun. Seodaemun, which means the western big gate of Hanyang Doseong, the Seoul’s four major gates along the Seoul Wall Fortress. Donuimun Gate, first constructed in 1396, was rebuilt in 1413 at Jeongdong Crossroads. Since then, the gate has been called “Saemun” (新聞), which means “new door,” and the area inside Don’s Gate was called “Saemunangol” or “Sammunan neighborhood.”

Saemunan was a crowded area of ​​private tutoring, a symbol of private education, from the 1960s to the 1970s. Since the 80’s, it has been a rumored food alley. However, as the New Town development project began in the 2000s, Seoul remodeled the village and buildings of Saemunan Village and donated it to the Donuimun Museum Village. 40 of 63 existing homes were maintained and repaired, and some houses were left behind, creating a courtyard for the village community, and the old alleys were kept intact. Although it was opened in 2017, the Donuimun Museum Village was newly renovated in April of this year, with the concept of ‘100-year modern and archive of memory.’

The village consists of three major themes: village exhibition hall (16 dong), experiential education hall (9 dong), and village creation center (9 dong).

At the village center in the center of the village, concerts are held every day at 12:10 noon (1pm on weekends). There are also cultural events that citizens suggest and conduct on their own.
First of all, the Village Exhibition Hall is an annex to the Seoul Museum of History, where you can feel and experience the history of the old Saemunan neighborhood and the sensitivity of the 60~80s analog generation. In the Donuimun Exhibition Hall, you can check the history and culture of the Donuimun era, the urban regeneration and life records of Saemunan neighborhood. There is also the “Donguimungu-guru,” which recreates the social space of the former blooming members, and the “Independence activist’s house”, which celebrated the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Provisional Government and the Republic of Korea.
If you go to the side alley, you will be able to travel back in time from the 1960s to the 80s. The Living History Exhibition Hall recreated the homes of the 1960s and 1980s, including a kitchen with a hut, a room with mother-of-pearl, and a study room with a uniform. You can enjoy pastime games such as “ Tsamori Yongwon, ” a modern barber shop, “ Seodaemun photo studio ” with the concept of a modern social center and a wedding hall in the 1980s, “ Saemunan Theatre ”, a Tetris, and a street fighter that recreate the old movie theater. You can feel the retro sensibility in ‘Donuimun Computer Game Center and Manga Room’.

At the Seoul Future Heritage Hall, you can see 10 future heritage sites in Jongno and Euljiro along the tram lines of Seoul in the 1930s. Hanoks on one side of the village courtyard allow you to experience Hanji crafts, calligraphy, fashion, and embroidery, and many more. However, you must first make a reservation on the homepage for these experiences. In the ‘Myeongin Gallery’, there is a permanent exhibition where you can enjoy the works of masters in the experience education center.

There is also a civic gallery and artist gallery. Here, a collection of collections gathered by citizen collectors and works by artists and curators appropriate for the village are displayed. The Village Creation Center, located throughout the village, also hosts exhibitions and workshops for tenant artists that fit the concept of the village. New exhibitions are also held every month in the artist gallery. Currently, the main exhibition “City Exhibition” of the “2019 Seoul Urban Biennale” will be held in the Donuimun Museum Village until November 10th.

■ Donuimun Museum Village
Address: 14-3 Songwol-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Open: 10: 00 ~ 19: 00, closed every Monday
Admission Fee: Free
Homepage: http://dmvillage.info/

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